After a slight scare and a two-game losing streak, the New York Ranger have won five of their last six. Their one loss was a one-goal game to the San Jose Sharks, a team that is currently second in the West. In this stretch, the Rangers’ best players have been performing at the top of their game, and are showing why the Blueshirts will be a feared team in the playoffs.
Henrik Lundqvist struggled to start the season, but since he signed his massive contract extension, he has been the Vezina Trophy winner the Rangers are used to having in net. In this stretch, he has been lights out, giving up less than two goals a game, and sporting a save percentage of .940.
But Hank isn’t the only one whose performance has taken off. In these six games, Ryan McDonagh has added four goals — all of which were game-winners — seven points and is a +5. That doesn’t begin to tell the story. He has made plays all over the ice, cutting into the offensive zone, as well as making goal-saving plays, and collecting huge turnovers.
Perhaps the biggest story is Rick Nash. His numbers don’t pop out (only three points, including an empty-net goal), but he has been noticeably more physical. Nash has looked passive at times this season, and has always been his best taking the puck to the net. In this stretch, he is taking the body and using his big stature to set up offense. He has looked faster and more physical than he’s looked in weeks. If the Rangers want to make noise in the playoffs, they need their top goal scorer producing, and it looks like Nash is coming around.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about this stretch is it is happening while newly acquired Martin St. Louis continues to struggle. The star winger was brought in to bring some much-needed offense at the trade deadline, but has yet to tally a goal with the Rangers. He seems to be pressing, and even looks a little slow. It’s unlikely this slump will continue for the rest of the season. When he breaks out, this team could look scary.
The Rangers have struggled at various times this season. With only eight games left in the season, they seem to be hitting their stride. With the talent they have on this roster, they can be dangerous come playoff time.