The NY Rangers vibes have been all over the place this season. In October, they were playing great hockey, just getting unlucky. Still, they came out of October with a 5-3-2 record and were mostly dominating opponents. November was when we saw it all come crashing down, and the NY Rangers vibes went with it. With this recent four game win streak, we’ve seen the NY Rangers vibes start to return. They are winning, but there are more questions about their overall play.
It’s not that hard to see the Rangers, while they’ve been winning, haven’t had the strongest games in this four game win streak. The St. Louis game was almost a disaster, and Jordan Binnington may have actually saved Gerard Gallant’s job. The win against the Devils on Monday was almost a blowout in the first 10 minutes, but the Rangers woke up before to tie it before both teams took naps in the third period.
To say that the Vegas game was the only strong game from the Rangers in this run isn’t much of a stretch. Colorado, while shorthanded, dominated most of that game, and Igor Shesterkin stole that win. Vegas was total Rangers domination.
But again, wins are wins, and three of these wins are against teams headed to the playoffs. So you take the wins and the better NY Rangers vibes. Whether or not the Rangers can get back to what they were doing in October, well that remains to be seen.
As Becky noted, jokingly but accurately on Monday night, the Rangers can’t seem to combine both strong play and immaculate vibes and wins. Naturally, we will take the wins and the vibes, especially now when the team is (was?) in a fragile state. A few more wins and perhaps we will see both good play and immaculate vibes.
There’s no singular issue that has caused the Rangers to be where they are. We can point to lineup decisions, lack of in game adjustments, overall poor play, and some bad luck. It’s all of the above, and at least the Rangers are consistent in giving us the same few things to wish were better.
The funny thing about this run and the rest of the December schedule is that if the Rangers can halt Toronto’s winning streak on Thursday, they have a chance to make it seven in a row with winnable games against Philly and Chicago over the weekend. Seven in a row goes a long way for the NY Rangers vibes, but also means a lot when the Rangers have Pittsburgh, the Islanders, Washington, and Tampa to close out the year.
November was a month of missed opportunities. December appears to be a month where the Rangers make up ground. Four in a row is good. Beating Toronto to make it five in a row is better. Winning the two “easier” games over the weekend is the best. If they go .500 in those final four games, it’s possible the Rangers go 9-4 in December, which is certainly a good step in making up ground. Timely wins against divisional opponents matters too, with the Isles, Penguins, and Caps all on deck.
The NY Rangers vibes matter more, in my humble opinion, than strong offensive play right now. This is a team that has lacked confidence up and down the lineup. Build the confidence with wins, then get back to basics and getting more sustained offensive pressure, both off the forecheck and off the rush. It took longer than we had liked, but it does appear the Rangers have turned the corner.