After Saturday night’s crucial win against the New Jersey Devils and the even more important victory on Friday night in Columbus, the New York Rangers have put themselves back in a playoff position. With only 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Rangers are now destined to make the playoffs.
In their 10 remaining games, the Rangers play only four teams that currently are in a playoff position, making their road to the playoffs quite a bit easier. After their last two games against formidable opponents, the Rangers have opened up a three-point lead in the standings between themselves and the team below them.
With 82 points in the standings and a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals, the Rangers have proven that they deserve a playoff spot. After their less than desirable start to the season, a mere transitional time in order to meld into the team that head coach Alain Vigneault wanted, the Rangers have turned it on and proven to the entire NHL that they are a dangerous team capable and deserving of a playoff spot.
In their final ten games, the Rangers need to win at least six to secure a playoff spot. With a particularly strong Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference and the new NHL structure for playoff spots this year, the Rangers would be in a bad spot if they did not gain a playoff berth from being a top three team in their division. With a strong Eastern Conference, the Rangers cannot depend on a wild card spot.
A horrible start to their goaltending this season led fans and players to question the ability and consistency of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who has been so good in the past. Recent success has electrified Lundqvist’s season, and when you factor in his Olympic success in addition to his franchise record-breaking season, the concern at the beginning of the season is no more. It is obvious to everyone watching that Lundqvist is still one of the best goalies in the NHL and will continue to be throughout the remainder of this season as well as many future seasons to come.
Another Rangers’ concern that manifested itself throughout the season was a lack of offense — more specifically a lack of goal scoring ability. While the Rangers never really struggled with getting shots on goal, their problem was always converting on their shots and putting the puck in the back of the net. Recently, the Rangers have fixed their issues and have been scoring at will, marked by a recent victory against the Ottawa Senators in which they scored eight goals. The recent success has proven that the Rangers have all the talent and ability to be a playoff team once again and potentially even a team that makes a run in the playoffs.
Between their elite goaltending, prolific offensive ability and solid fundamental team defense, the Rangers are a team to watch as the NHL moves towards the playoffs. This squad is sure to make for some good hockey once the playoffs come around, and you can for sure count the Rangers in once late April comes around.