New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

The New York Rangers are coming off of an impressive win over the Vancouver Canucks and need to keep the momentum rolling in Carolina.

New York Rangers:(25-16-5, 55 points, 2nd in NHL Metropolitan Division)
Carolina Hurricanes: (20-19-8, 48 points, 6th in NHL Metropolitan Division)
Today, 7:00 PM on MSG 2, FS-CR
PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC

By Chris Wengert

The New York Rangers and their fans have been riding a roller coaster of emotion over the past two weeks.

With the team alternating wins and losses, schizophrenia has overtaken Rangerstown as a sloppy loss one day will be followed by a convincing win the next.

Look no further than the past two games when the Rangers followed up a brutal loss to the Washington Capitals with one of their best performances of the season against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Blueshirts bested Vancouver in shot attempts 78-38, generated a strong fore check, owned the possession stats (whoop-eee!), and finally played a fantastic third period.

The team also showed some serious heart, resiliency, and patience.

After being down 2-1 halfway through the third frame, the Rangers came back to win the game thanks to J.T. Miller‘s overtime goal.

But Fool us once, shame on the Rangers. Fool fans all season, shame on them. One strong win should not bring about eternal optimism.

This team needs to prove that they can build momentum and string some wins together.

The Blueshirts are currently 2nd in the Metropolitan Division but are only five points away from losing a playoff spot.

If the Rangers don’t start playing consistently, they could find themselves in a precarious position come March and April.

New York Rangers: A Recipe For Disaster

The Vancouver Canucks, Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators, and Buffalo Sabers.

There is no reason why a strong, playoff-bound hockey team shouldn’t be capable of winning against these teams.

Unless of course, the team is not playoff bound.

And how will the Rangers be successful throughout the rest of this stretch?

Defense, defense, and more defense.

The Rangers still are not defending the way they need to in the slot. While this lack of coverage is not a chronic problem like it was a month ago, it is still very much apparent:

Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows had time to order coffee and read the paper in front of Henrik Lundqvist on this play. Having said that, if the Rangers can fix these coverage issues they will look like a different team.

Side note:

So yeah, that happened. Apparently Alain Vigneault made it clear that Paille was brought aboard to help fix the penalty kill.

Also, Jarret Stoll was apparently a vital part of the Rangers PK:

The Rangers have plenty of mediocre grinders in Hartford, and why they would sign another glorified AHLer boggles the mind.

Why not give newly signed Nicklas Jensen or AHL All-Star Ryan Graves a shot?

If General Manager Jeff Gorton really was the genius behind some of the latest blockbuster Ranger deals, then fans should give him a chance. He may have some master plan behind this signing…hopefully.

However if Paille was really brought on board solely for his penalty killing, then get ready to push the panic button.

The upcoming three games are a big opportunity for the Rangers. 

Wins against Carolina, Ottawa, and Buffalo could right a previously sinking ship. If they can accomplish a four game sweep, this season may look very different following the All-Star break. 

NEXT: Yoenis Cespedes And The 2016 MLB Postseason

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: