After an incredible start to the season, the New York Rangers have quickly fallen. We tell you why this has not been a fun season for fans.
By Jay Travers
I am not a betting man. However, at the start of the 2015-2016 season, I was willing to bet a lot of money that the New York Rangers were going to go somewhere this season.
They seemed destined for glory.
The amazing start to the year, one that included 16 wins in the first 25 games of the season, could bring one to tears. The Rangers looked great and seemed to be heading straight to the Cup. After the way the season ended last year, the start to the year seemed like the beginning of something wonderful.
Then came the month of December; a month I never want to relive again. Normally the Blueshirts have a rocky start to the season and get their legs around November and December.
This season was not the case. In fact they lost their legs in December this time.
However, the Rangers survived, and got through a horrible month where fans really began to question everything they were seeing on the ice.
Questions, such as is Henrik Lundqvist still the best? And should the Rangers dump Keith Yandle? were a few of the questions being asked. But the team began to get back to normal, having a half decent January and February.
Rangers hockey became fun again.
And now we come to the West Coast trip the Blueshirts wrapped up last night in San Jose. While they typically compete hard, Ranges captain Ryan McDonagh had this to say via Brett Cyrgalis, New York Post:
“It seemed like guys weren’t willing to compete hard, and that’s a very hard thing to say, but you have to admit it sometimes. Our group simply gave away two points. It’s very uncharacteristic.
The way Hank was playing, that’s very disappointing — we left him out to dry.”
The inability to finish games in the final minutes has been the common trend I have seen since October.
— Kenny Albert (@KennyAlbert) March 20, 2016
I’d almost rather be doing anything else other than watching the final five minutes of the game. Maybe even the third period in total. It’s scary because you just do not know what is going to happen; a shot could take a weird bounce and squeeze through. It could be deflected and the shot could just end up in the back in the net.
Boom. The Rangers are headed to overtime or they lost the game with 30 seconds left.
It seems all year long there have been collapses to the team during the third period. It’s these losses late in a game that are the problems that need to be resolved fast, as serious playoff contenders must be able to finish games.
If the playoffs were to start today, the Rangers would make it by the skin of their teeth. And we know that the Blueshirts are much more capable than barley making the playoffs.
The roster has remained similar over the past three seasons, with a strong core still in tact. You can see that the window is closing on these players, and closing fast.
The season ends April ninth for the Rangers, a 12:30 puck drop against Detroit. My key for them through the end of the season is this:
Win games late, win the Stanley Cup.