Friday, April 19, 2024

The New York Rangers are the NHL’s hottest group


The New York Rangers are the most well liked group within the NHL proper now. The Blueshirts presently sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 79 factors and maintain a six-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Rangers are nicely past their rebuild. Their younger guys are enjoying nicely, the celebrities live as much as their names, whereas the veterans are holding all of it collectively. New York has gained 9 straight. With a win tomorrow over the Flyers, the Rangers will tie their longest successful streak of 10, set in 1939-40 and 1972-73.

All in all, this group shouldn’t have any hassle qualifying for the postseason. But it surely’s what occurs as soon as they get there that ought to be of concern to followers.

We’ve seen this earlier than: A terrific common season, the place every part seemingly goes proper — just for it to unravel come the postseason.

Take final yr’s marketing campaign for instance. New York went 47-22, solely to lose in seven video games within the first spherical to the rival New Jersey Devils. The yr earlier than that, the Rangers put collectively a 52-win season, however couldn’t get previous the Tampa Bay Lightning, who defeated the Blueshirts 4 video games to 2 within the Jap Convention Finals.

However these groups that got here up quick are completely different than this present bunch — even when a number of the names are the identical. One thing about this Rangers squad feels completely different. So how does NY win a fifth Stanley Cup?

The offense wants to supply

The offense has been there throughout this win streak. The Rangers have the most effective report within the sport when having a lead (38-16-3).

Artemi Panarin is fifth within the league in factors (78). He’s adopted by Chris Kreider — who’s approaching 30 targets — Mika Zibanejad, and Vincent Trocheck, who’ve all recorded 54 factors.

Nevertheless, we noticed the offense stall at instances in that sequence in opposition to the Devils. New York was shut out twice — in Video games 5 and seven. The Blueshirts additionally solely managed to attain a single aim in each Video games 3 and 4 — losses that negated goaltender Igor Shesterkin’s stellar play by a lot of the sequence.

Religion within the fourth line

Jimmy Vesey is the king of clutch. You heard that proper. At present, the previous Hobey Baker winner is enjoying on the primary line. He’s quick to the puck, he’s bodily and most significantly, he scores targets. He could not stay there — he may return to the fourth line — however he’s been making an affect.

Talking of that fourth line, it’s anchored by Barclay Goodrow at heart, and rookies Adam Edstrom and Matthew Rempe, who’ve made some fast impacts to this point. Each guys are big, being six-foot-seven and six-foot-eight respectively. Rempe dropped the gloves in his NHL debut on the Stadium Collection, and has performed bodily, high-pressure hockey since becoming a member of the group. Edstrom scored a aim in his first sport with the Rangers, and has since been enjoying sensible hockey by way of getting pucks in deep, utilizing his dimension to his benefit, and naturally, the physicality. The Rangers have wanted a bodily presence since they’ve traded Ryan Reaves, and have discovered it in these two rookies.

Goodrow is a two-time Stanley Cup Winner with Tampa Bay. Not solely is he robust as nails for powering by his jaw harm from earlier this season, however is aware of what it takes to go deep within the playoffs.

Talking of going deep…

How about Jonathan Fast? He joined the Rangers after a Stanley Cup-winning season with the Vegas Golden Knights. Earlier than that, he had secured two with the Kings. And regardless of his age — 38 — he’s 13-4-2 when filling in for Shesterkin.

Kreider additionally boasts playoff expertise, having been on the Rangers group that reached the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals. Although he solely managed one aim in that sequence, the winger has discovered the again of the online 40 instances in his postseason profession.

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