With the New York Rangers 15-5-1 in their last 21 games, it is safe to say that their second half of the season is starting off a lot better than their first half. Unlike in the first half of the season, the Rangers are now stringing together wins and points with consistency and are currently sitting in second place in the Metropolitan Division. With all of this occurring, Rangers fans and NHL fans from around the league are questioning whether the Rangers are now a top team and for “real” or not, meaning a top team in their conference and true contenders for the Stanley Cup this season.
The answer to that still remains a no from me. Want a reason why? Just take last night’s regulation loss against the Edmonton Oilers.
This is an Oilers team that, regardless of winning four out of their last five games, are sitting in dead last out of all of the teams in the entire Western Conference. And the Rangers failed to even get a point out of that game as the home team.
A loss at home against the worst team in the west with the worst overall defense in the league where the Rangers only managed to score one goal is inexcusable. Especially when the Oilers’ goaltender, Ben Scrivens, struggled all game to secure the puck and gave up rebounds all over the place.
The top teams in the league all win the games they are supposed to win, and a home game against one of the worst teams in the league definitely falls into that category. Some suggest that the Rangers were looking ahead to their next game against their rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and were not focused in on the game last night against the Oilers. Honestly, for a team trying to hold onto a playoff spot every point matters and no game should be overlooked, especially a typical trap game like this one was.
I don’t know about you, but the Rangers need to prove a lot on the road against the Penguins tonight and a lot more after the Olympic break for me to even consider them being a top team and true contender this season.