New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

The New York Rangers have won two in a row for the first time since November, they have the best fans in the NHL, and J.T. Miller is the man.

By Chris Wengert

The New York Rangers spanked the lowly Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-1 last night.

The team fore checked hard, made some pretty plays (Keith Yandle), and even resurrected the famous “defensive shell” in the third period.

The Rangers play was very business-like, and that is exactly how they should operate if they are going to make up for the horrible December they had.

Before we go praising the Rangers, there is one thing that should be made clear:

The Canes are a bad team and that might be putting it lightly.

That being said, the December Rangers may very well have made a fiasco out of games like this one (ie: that Edmonton game) and the fact that they are taking care of simple business is encouraging.

Without question, the biggest difference in the Rangers play right now is confidence.

A confident Rangers team can compete with almost any team in the NHL, and I say almost because I’m not sure anyone can compete with the Washington Capitals right now.

So is there a professional sports franchise that has a better fan base than the New York Rangers?

In what other sport do you consistently see opposing areas splattered with visitor jerseys?

Alain Vigneault has dubbed this following as the “Rangers Cult”.

I don’t think there is a better name for this passionate group of Rangers fans.

AV elaborated with Mike Potter of the Associated Press:

“I love the Ranger cult, everywhere we go it seems like tons of fans, and a lot of times they’re louder than the other team’s. I’ve been with three great organizations and this is the best fan base I’ve seen.”

Speaking of fans…

In case you missed it there is a huge snow storm blanketing the eastern seaboard right now, and it was surprising to see that the game was not cancelled last night.

It was announced that a little over 14,000 tickets were sold in Carolina, but Andrew Gross shed some light on the real attendance situation:

If you watched the game on television this 3,000-4,000 estimate makes much more sense, as a plethora of empty seats were clearly visible .

The reason I bring this up:

I really think the fans who brave this weather and show up to the arena should be rewarded. Why not let these people enjoy the game in the lower bowl when there are literally thousands of seats unattended?

Yes, their tickets may have the 400 section stamped on them but it would be a great gesture to let fans sit in better seats, especially in a city that isn’t exactly the mecca of hockey. But I digress…

Visit Elite’s New York Rangers Center

Rick Nash had some tough luck handed to him last night.

After avoiding what looked like a possible leg injury, he returned only to take a nasty shot off of his ankle during a penalty kill. Nash did not take a shift the rest of the game.

AV downplayed what could be a huge blow to the Rangers roster.

Rick Nash receives a lot of criticism.

Some of the criticism is fair, especially for a player who is making 7.8M this year. But Nash is a complete hockey player, not just a goal scorer. 

He fore checks AND back checks hard (a rarity for an upper-tier player), and is a great play maker. Nash’s absence from the lineup would be a pretty big set back, especially for a Rangers team that is finally gaining traction. 

How about that J.T. Miller guy? 

At times J.T. Miller looks and sounds very similar to Ryan Callahan. Even the verbiage Miller chooses during interviews reminds me of the former Rangers captain.

If Miller is finally starting to “take the next step” with his play, then he couldn’t have chosen a better time.

Miller is producing exactly how the Rangers need Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes to produce.

If only the Blueshirts could have all three of these players firing on all cylinders simultaneously. That could be scary…

Vancouver, Carolina, Ottawa, and Buffalo.

Two down and two to go Rangers fans.

Also, if you live somewhere that is being affected by this snow storm-stay safe.

UP NEXT: New York Mets: How Yoenis Cespedes Impacts The NL East Race

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