New Jersey trails the eighth-placed Rangers by just two points with 17 days left. The Devils are four points behind the two-way tie for sixth between Ottawa and the Islanders.
The Isles and Senators seem to be going in opposite directions. Ottawa's lost five straight-- including a 3-2 loss in Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Islanders are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and knocked off Philadelphia 4-1 on Tuesday in Uniondale, N.Y.
The Flyers, still clinging to life, are five points back of the Rangers. Right there with Philadelphia are the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo lost 4-1 Tuesday in Winnipeg and has played one more game than the Devils, Rangers and Flyers, leaving it in more dire straits.
Meanwhile, the Jets are still in contention for the Southeast Division crown-- assuming Washington ever loses again. The Capitals have won five straight and are 8-1-1 in their last 10. Washington leads Winnipeg by four points and have played one fewer game than Winnipeg.
The Rangers, still holding that No. 8 seed, will try to hold that spot when they close a home-and-home series with the Maple Leafs Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. Toronto beat New York 4-3 on Monday at Air Canada Centre.
Across the Hudson River in Newark, the Devils will try to snap their seven-game losing streak against the Boston Bruins when they meet at Prudential Center. With a Maple Leafs win and a Rangers loss, the Devils and Rangers will share the eighth-playoff spot with eight games left.
The Rangers will have the tiebreaker, having won three more regulation and overtime games than the New Jersey. The Devils can improve on that with a Rangers loss and by beating Boston in 60 or 65 minutes.
The rest of the East will watch those two games closely, as they're the only two conference games on tonight's docket. A Toronto win, coupled with a Boston loss, will leave the Leafs just four points behind Boston for the east's No. 4 seed.
Here's a simpler view of tonight's schedule:
Toronto at N.Y. Rangers, 7
Boston at DEVILS, 7:30