Originally written on Blue Seat Blogs  |  Last updated 11/12/14

The Rangers and Penguins are seemingly locked in what will be an epic battle for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Rangers currently lead the Penguins by a single point, both with seven games remaining in the season. While many are panicking about how the Penguins could catch up so quickly (more on that in a second), the Rangers have two distinct advantages in this race.

First, the Rangers have more points than the Penguins, which means they still control their own destiny. As long as the Rangers win, the Penguins can’t catch up. Each time the Rangers win, the magic number is deducted by two. Each time the Penguins lose, the magic number is deducted by two. With three very winnable games coming up, the magic number could feasibly be seven by the end of the month. If the Rangers win at Pittsburgh in April, that’s a four point swing in the magic number.

Second, the Rangers lead the first tiebreaker –regulation and overtime wins– 43-38, and it is unlikely that the Penguins catch up. To be honest, if they catch up in ROW, then they are likely passing the Rangers in standings anyway, because it would mean the Rangers aren’t winning games. Since the Rangers hold the first tiebreaker, the Penguins must finish ahead of the Rangers in points to take the division.

But more on those Penguins for a moment. Let’s remember that they went on a tear recently, and have won 14 of the past 16 games they’ve played. The only thing the Rangers could have done to prevent them from catching up was cutting the brakes on their bus. There has been no stopping the now healthy Penguins, who have finally progressed back to the mean in terms of team expectations. The Penguins were expected to be a 100 point team by the end of March, but yet people seem surprised that they reached that number.

Boston went undefeated in November, Pittsburgh went close to undefeated in March. The only difference is the timing. It is not possible for the Penguins to continue winning games at this rate, especially come playoff time. The Rangers are still in first place, and now these games mean something. Did you really want them coasting into the playoffs?

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Michael Sam on childhood: 'My brothers were evil people'

LeSean McCoy bristles at talk of disappointing season

Report: Padres join major players in pursuit of Sandoval

Derek Carr on Raiders getting first win: 'I like this feeling'

Miss. St. pulls QB's scholarship offer 15 days before graduation

Patriots have best odds to win Super Bowl, say experts

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Canseco's finger falling off apparently was a bad prank

Peterson speaks out, doesn't want to be compared to Ray Rice

DeSean Jackson won't reveal target of cryptic Instagram post

LeBron: Teaching Cavs bigger challenge than winning first ring

Darrelle Revis on Calvin Johnson: 'A man among boys'

NFLPA appeals Adrian Peterson suspension as 'unlawful'

DirecTV Sunday Ticket will air Jets-Bills on Monday

Game of the week: New England Patriots vs. Detroit Lions

WATCH: Duke graduate asst. loses mind to pump up players

Golic recreates Kim Kardashian butt pic after losing bet

Five bold predictions for Week 12 in the NFL

Brian Cashman spends night sleeping on street for charity

10 NFL rising stars vital to their teams’ postseason hopes

With Raiders win, NFL's 'Circle of Parity' is complete

WATCH: Sack celebration nearly costs Raiders their first win

The best potential values of the MLB offseason

Shantel Jackson covers up Floyd Mayweather tattoo

Oscar Taveras' family thanking fans via his Twitter account

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Game of the week: Patriots vs. Lions

Report: Padres join hunt for Sandoval

Golic recreates Kardashian butt pic

Adrian Peterson speaks out

NFLPA appeals Peterson suspension

10 best college running backs ever

DeSean Jackson mum on cryptic post

Revis on Johnson: 'A man among boys'

LeBron on challenge of leading Cavaliers

LeGarrette Blount issues apology

Ex-NFLer delivers own baby on farm

FSU student: Books stopped bullet

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.