New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

One simple Jesper Fast deflection has given the New York Rangers and their fans some much needed hope. Have the Blueshirts finally found an identity?

By Chris Wengert

With one seemingly harmless deflection, thousands of New York Rangers fans breathed a sigh of relief on Monday night.

And it was a sigh of relief that could be heard round’ the world.

With one minute left in the third period and the Rangers up 2-1 on the Boston Bruins, thousands of Rangers fans were thinking the same thought.

Please don’t blow it.

It’s a narrative that has become all too real for New York Rangers fans the past couple of weeks.

But this game was different. There would be no last second Nicklas Backstrom goal to break the Rangers back.

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There certainly would not be an Alex Ovechkin goal to win the game in overtime.

The Rangers changed the ending this time. Jesper Fast’s beautiful deflection would stand as the game winner.

The game was not pretty by any means but beauty doesn’t add points to the scoreboard in hockey. Perhaps this is what New York Rangers hockey might look like in 2016.

Dirty. Ugly. Gutsy. Hardworking. Comeback.

Maybe a team identity that has been vacant thus far is finally solidifying before our eyes.

They’re not the fast Ranger team from 2014 (although their strong neutral zone play in the 3rd period promoted speed) and that is OK because maybe this is just a team that will work their opponent to death.

Persistence. Resiliency. Patience.

Or maybe Jesper Fast said it best in an interview with Blueshirts United reporter Matt Calamia:

“We Don’t Quit”

Well said Mr. Fast.

The New York Rangers are 4-2-1 in their last seven games. Two of these wins came against the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins, respectively.

The Blueshirts were also able to steal a point against the Washington Capitals in a game where they once again came back to gain the lead late in the game.

Those numbers are encouraging for a team that once upon a time won only three times in a 14 game span.

It’s not all roses and cherries though.

If Dan Girardi is out for any length of time with the hand laceration he sustained against Boston, the vacancy will test an already questionable blue line.

While Henrik Lundqvist has made some big saves the past couple of games, he is still allowing the occasional soft goal and seems to be fighting the puck.

 Confidence doesn’t return after just one or two wins though.

While the rest of the team is emerging from this horrible slump, Hank is too. The mistakes are being replaced by timely saves little by little.

Ryan McDonagh played a strong game against Boston, but he needs to show some consistency moving forward.

Team identity is essential for success.

Any club that experienced success had a strong identity driving the team concept.

Perhaps the New York Rangers finally have found an identity:

They will never quit.

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I've been a die hard Rangers and Giants fan for as long as I can remember. I enjoy sharing opinions, and hearing from fans that love their teams just as much as I do. Henrik Lundqvist makes all of us look like mere mortals. E-mail me at: