State of the Rangers

Despite streak, Rangers still have ground to make up

The weird thing about these two winning streaks and winning 13 of 14 games: The Rangers haven’t really moved up in the standings. Some blame the three games in hand they hold on the Islanders and Washington (two on the Penguins), but the reality is that the cream of the Metro has kept winning as well.

The Caps are 7-1-2 in their last 10 and 10-1-4 (that “1” coming against the Rangers) in their last fifteen. The Isles are 6-3-1 in their last ten. The Pens have cooled a bit at 4-4-2 in their last ten, but were 6-1-1 prior. So despite winning all these games, the Rangers haven’t gained much ground on those Metro foes ahead of them.

But now comes the fun part of the season. The Rangers, fresh off their California sweep, have the Islanders at home tonight. A win puts them three points back of first with three games in hand. They then play the finally-getting-their-act-together Bruins and the finally healthy Blue Jackets before another Metro showdown with the Penguins. Three of those four games (CBJ) have playoff implications and are four-point swing games. They then face the Isles after Ottawa comes to town. That’s four games in six that have conference playoff implications.

Expecting the Rangers to continue to roll like this is completely unrealistic, especially because they are riding an absurdly high SH% at even strength. But hey, we can be optimistic right? As long as they use that speed to pressure the forecheck and close passing lanes in the neutral zone, they are the most dangerous team in the NHL.

All three California coaches said they had trouble handling the Rangers speed. The Isles can keep pace, that we know. So can the Penguins. These aren’t easy games, but they are games the Rangers need to win to keep pace in the Metro.

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  • Rather than looking at the schedule, and seeing the tough opponents, I’d rather approach it as one game at a time. This will then be manageable, and not work on your psychic, and overwhelm you. With the upcoming games, we can put some space between us, and teams behind us.

    The roughest game will be the fish sticks, they are very good. The Pens are beatable, and hurt, so we stand a better chance against them. Boston is like a diesel truck, racing against a corvette, with some of their big names not playing up to snuff, Lucic anyone?????

    Like Ken above stated 8 of 12 would be good, but 12 of 12 is much better. Aim for the stars, and settle for the moon!!!!!

    • Totally agree Walt. The biggest game of the season is the next one. Tonight’s opponent happens to be the Fisherman. The Rangers got whipped by them earlier in the season. Now that they’re playing better hockey, I’m sure they’ll be out to show that they still own this great city.
      After this game, then we as fans can look forward to the Bos-CBJ back to back on Thurs & Fri. Both Columbus & Boston are big tough teams. As much as I hate to admit it, I bet Tanner Glass gets at least one of those games. Maybe both

  • It was also unrealistic to think the team could sweep the west coast and western Canada but yet here we…. I know what you’re saying Dave but this a darn good team on a hot streak, who knows when/how they cool off…

  • Despite the winning streak, the Rangers have to start knocking off their divisional rivals to make the playoffs While we all rant and rave about the teams’ speed and Elian’s coaching prowess, they are still a team fighting for a playoff spot. This is a game tonight where Lundqvist needs to bring it and the Rangers will have to out work and out skate the surging fish sticks in order to beat them.

    • It’s somewhat unfair and misleading to say the Rangers are still fighting for a playoff spot. The games in hand are a real thing.

      If you look across the league standings the Rangers are among the leaders in fewest points dropped (losses+OT&SO losses). Basically, they are collecting points at a better rate than almost the entire league. That’s a really good sign.

      Even if the Rangers lose tonight, and I have a bad feeling about tonight, I am still not worried about the regular season. The Rangers are one of the truly elite teams in the league. The Isles are a good team but still lack that one big time D-man that they could throw on the ice for 30 minutes a game if they needed to. They have the pieces to get one but they will need to pull the trigger and get someone for that blue line. Hamonic is a good player but he’s not in the same realm as Doughty, Weber, Keith, Suter and McD.

    • Yeah, Rangers are not really fighting for a playoff spot. Ninth team in the East is either FL or Boston (depending how you count) – our record is distinctly better than those teams’.

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