The New York Rangers have been playing some quality hockey lately and with April quickly approaching lets take a look at the chances of a deep playoff run.
By Chris Wengert
The New York Rangers have started to play some consistent hockey, earning 11 out of a possible 12 points in their last six games.
That is encouraging not only because it shows that they have finally turned the page on their awful December-January slump, but it seems like the Rangers might be collecting the tools necessary for a playoff run.
But can they realistically make another deep playoff run?
Before the season began you would have most likely assumed that the current roster is more than capable of not only making the playoffs, but playing deep into the spring.
If the season ended at Thanksgiving, the Rangers would have won the President’s Trophy.
Many fans made the rookie mistake of discussing the playoffs only two months into the season. Hey, you can’t blame them for dreaming.
But December taught all of us that what you see on paper and what happens in reality are two very different things.
It was a sobering and rude awakening.
The bottom completely fell out, the wheels came off of the bus- pick your cliche to describe the terrible slump the Rangers fell into.
But here we sit in mid-February, and the team has since stabilized their play.
Hank is playing better, the defense has improved (mostly), and some players have stepped up to fill roles that were not being filled.
If you have watched any playoff hockey, especially in the past four years, you know that it is a different beast. A team’s attributes in the regular season may not prove successful in the post-season.
In the playoffs, players take risks and often find an extra gear that they wouldn’t in the regular season. Dreams of big shiny cups dance around in their heads.
I always like to compare the Rangers to the 2014 Los Angeles King because, well, I’m still bitter about it.
If you compare the current Ranger’s season to the 2013-2014 Kings the trends are eerily similar. Both teams went through prolonged slumps and dealt with injuries to key players at times.
So can the Rangers experience an outcome similar to that 2014 LA team?
I say yes.
This New York Rangers team can make a deep playoff run and even win the Stanley Cup, but it will take some production from players who are not currently producing and some good ole fashioned luck.
Let’s take a look as what needs to happen for the Rangers to make another run.