Still the best in the league

March 8, 2012, by

It is always amusing to watch the people on the ledge after a loss like Tuesday’s. The Rangers lead the league in points, are second in regulation/OT wins, and have the fewest regulation losses in the league. But yet, when they lay an egg against a playoff team like the Devils, fans start jumping ship. It’s really funny actually.

The hockey season is a roller coaster ride. Sure, the Rangers haven’t looked strong in their past few games, but Tuesday’s loss was the first time the Rangers didn’t get a point since February 21, a span of six games. They went 4-0-2 in that span, getting 10 of a possible 12 points. And this has been in a span that everyone has noticed that they aren’t playing their ‘A’ game.

A win is a win is a win. Not every Stanley Cup champion looks perfect in every single game. Only the Red Wings manage to appear perfect in every aspect of every game. But yet, the Rangers are ahead of them in the standings.

This team is built for the playoffs. They have the best goalie in the world. They have one of the best defenses in the game. They have a very strong penalty kill. Sure, there are holes on offense and on the powerplay, but the Rangers don’t play to outscore their opponents. They play to allow fewer goals, and it’s something they excel at (second in the league).

No team goes 82-0, losses happen. Laying eggs happens. The Rangers laid an egg on Tuesday, and got beat by a very good Devils team. If anything, that loss is a good thing. The Rangers realized that they can’t win games if they get away from what they do best: forechecking, pressuring the puck, playing physical. That is their identity. They’ve been getting away from it the past few games. Maybe that Devils game was a wake up call.

Getting back on track after a loss like that is what the Rangers have been doing all year. With those Penguins surging, getting back on track now is a necessity, not a luxury.


  1. orangemike says:

    No one’s jumping off a ledge; we’d just like to see 60 minutes of solid effort once in a while. I get it; there are 82 games, no one is 82-0. The problem is that lately their stinkers have been against hot division opponents, and the Penguins are coming on strong. Six point lead is not insurmountable, and if they blow the division they drop to fourth, with a fun-filled first series against the Devils or the Flyers. Many Ranger fans are nervous; yes, this is a good defensive team and Hank is as good as anyone. But this team can’t score; they’ve scored more than 3 goals once in the last month.

    Look, I get it. The other teams pay their players too. If this team goes deep into the playoffs (say, to the Cup finals) I’ll say I was wrong. But you can’t say the last two weeks have been encouraging, I’m sorry.


  2. Chuck A. says:

    Concerned I am, too, like Orangemike, but still, elite teams find ways to win (or pick up points) despite sub-par play.

    Glass half-full: perhaps this recent lull is the plateau before the NYR take that next step toward higher caliber play.

  3. Chris F says:

    This stretch has been troubling, indeed. I for one believe this team is hurting. They’ve been playing a hard, physical season and it may be taking its toll finally.

    A solid, decisive win tonight would go a long way for morale.