For the New York Rangers, it’s not about long winning streaks, rather, winning the last game of the year.
By Gregg Cambareri
It’s Thursday, November 19th. The 2015 NHL season is just about a quarter of the way through. The New York Rangers have won 9 straight games, and will go for their 10th, in a rematch of last year’s thrilling Eastern Conference Finals in Tampa Bay. They sit alone atop the Metropolitan Division and remain tied for the league lead in points. It would be tough to ask for a better first quarter, wouldn’t it?
Well, their exceptional start to the season couldn’t be any more irrelevant.
Is a 9 game winning streak impressive? Yes. Will anyone remember it if the Rangers fall short of winning hockey’s ultimate prize later this summer? Take a guess.
The franchise record is 10 straight wins, accomplished twice before (1972-73 & 1939-40). The Rangers could win their next 64 games, falter in the playoffs, and the season would still be deemed a failure. Last season ended in a crushing game 7 defeat at the Garden after winning the President’s Trophy in the regular season. The top seed, most points in the league, and home ice, just doesn’t mean much when the goal is to attain Lord Stanley’s cup.
Tomorrow night’s showdown with the Lightning will be a test. The greater challenge will be slowing down Steven Stamkos and company, not winning 10 in a row.
I’m not trying to discount the success the Rangers have had, though. Enjoy the moment, recognize and appreciate the success that’s been achieved thus far, and over the past few years. There are several other NHL fanbases that would kill to be in the Rangers’ position.
But look at the big picture.
Winning streaks are nice, but when you have expectations like the Rangers do, they don’t mean a great deal. Since a lockout ending in July 2005, the Blueshirts have been in the playoffs almost every year, and have teased their fanbase with championship pushes over the last 4 years. The thrills of overtime goals, series wins, and a raucous Madison Square Garden have provided the fanbase with moments to cherish. The current winning streak the Rangers are on, could be another great run to remember, especially if it increases.
However, it’ll be way too easily skipped in the minds of fans, players, and media, if the last mad dash of the 2015-16 season doesn’t end in a streak of at least 1.