By Brandon Fitzpatrick @bfitzsports on April 9, 2014
The 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs are only seven days from getting underway. The New York Rangers have earned a spot in the postseason and are a serious contender in the Eastern Conference. They have a number of qualities that make them a threat. Here are five reasons why the Rangers can win the 2014 Stanley Cup.
If the Rangers are going to win it all they are going to have to win games on the road. They will only have home ice advantage in the first round barring any upsets. But the Rangers are a quality road team. In fact, they have set a new franchise record for road wins in a season with 25. They will have to win games on the road to win it all and their road record is a big reason why they can.
For the first time in a long time the Rangers have had both their specialty teams in the top half of the league. The penalty kill, bolstered by players like Dom Moore, Brian Boyle and the great defense corps, is fifth in the league and has been outstanding. The power play is having a great year even though they plateaued after the Olympic break. It is heating up now and that is a huge boost for the Rangers.
One trait that all Stanley Cup champions share is that they have great defense. The Rangers have one of the best defenses in the league. Dan Girardi and Marc Staal have been their usual outstanding selves and Ryan McDonagh has propelled himself into the Norris Trophy conversation. They also have great depth with players like Anton Stralman and Kevin Klein.
After a horrid start Henrik Lundqvist has turned his game around. He is top 15 in the league in goals against average and top 10 in wins. He has only surrendered more than three goals twice in his last 15 starts. He is heating up at the right time and he has shown that he can steal games in the playoffs. The Rangers can ride him all the way to the promise land.
One of the things Alain Vigneault has brought to the Rangers is his trust in all his players. The Rangers consistently roll three lines and the top three have all found quality scoring. This is something that teams like the Boston Bruins have had in the past that has made them so hard to beat. The Rangers need their depth to keep it up, and if they do, they will be loving the results in June.
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