The New York Rangers remain the best in the East

The New York Rangers have played great in the first half of the season.  They haven’t played so well lately though, they aren’t playing terrible but they have been alternating wins and losses.  They came into today’s game with the Boston Bruins with a one point lead over them for first in the Eastern Conference.  The game was a great one and the Rangers won it 3-2 in overtime.  Marion Gaborik scored the goal with 3.6 seconds left in the overtime.  The win was an important one for the Rangers as they maintain their lead in the conference.  It was also a road win against a very good team and the defending Stanley Cup Champions.  The Rangers say they don’t think about statement games or anything like that but if there was one, this would be it.

The Rangers will be playing the Winnipeg Jets on home Tuesday night and then it will be the All-Star Break.  Gaborik was the hero in this one and thus earned the Broadway hat.  What is the Broadway hat, it is a hat that gets passed around the locker room, the star of the game gets it as the one who had it last decides who is going to get it after each win the Rangers have.  It is a neat thing.  The Rangers who went through Europe to start the season and then had the winter classic and of course the HBO 24/7 with the cameras following them around seemed to hit a lull here lately.  This game though showed why the Rangers are the number one team, they have good goal-tending, they battle you and they can score goals and even when you think it is over they still come at you.  The Rangers have scored a couple of goals to win games in the closing seconds.  They are a very resilient and hungry team.

The Rangers are going to be a tough team to beat as the coaching staff has done a great job.  Even when they lose a game they don’t get too down, they make sure it doesn’t turn into a losing streak.  They have had several winning streaks of five plus games this year, and even with that they haven’t rested on their laurels and they don’t get too confident.  The Rangers are a confident team but not overconfident.  They are a very blue collar type team and it works for them as they try to hang on to the first spot in the conference and see how far they can go.

They are hoping this is a dream season that could result in them winning their first Stanley Cup since 1994 and only second since 1940.  The Rangers have a talented team, but they also have grinders that can do the little things that win hockey games.  They have a great goaltender in Henrik Lundquist, some good young defenders with Dan Girardi leading the charge.  They also have guys who can put the puck in the net like Gaborik, Richards, Callahan.

Gaborik has had a comeback season, he is near the top of the league in goals scored.  He suffered through a tough season last year but that has seemed to motivate him and he is a different player  now.  He is more like the Gaborik that everyone is used to seeing.  The Rangers are going to be a very interesting team to watch down the stretch of the season, it will be interesting also to see if they can keep that #1 seed, it looks like they will definitely be in the top three though unless they go on a real bad losing streak.  I wouldn’t expect that though and I think Rangers fans are in for a real treat this season.

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