With a marathon six games in nine nights concluded, the Rangers find themselves playing some good hockey and in the first wild-card spot.
For most teams playing in back to back games can be a trying time. The hard-fought style of hockey, along with the travel can put a strain on most teams. For the Rangers, back to back games seems to give them a lift.
The Rangers just finished off a six-game, nine-night run where they played two sets of back to back games winning three out of the four games.
The most recent back to back games put the Rangers up against the Los Angeles Kings Friday night (4-2 win) and in Boston to take on the Bruins on Saturday night where they won 3-2 in overtime. Two games against tough opponents where the Rangers had little time to recover from one game to the next.
The Rangers character was called out in these games and they came out with two wins and some more confidence as the season begins to get increasingly difficult.
“That’s such a big back-to-back for us,” J.T. Miller told Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post. “We should be feeling good about ourselves.” This was following Saturday’s game against the Bruins where the Rangers won on Mats Zuccarello’s power-play goal in overtime.
The Rangers fan favorite and most reliable Ranger didn’t feel that he played his best game against the Bruins. “I was probably the worst player out there,” Zuccarello said. “I think I played really bad, so it was nice to see that one go in and help the team get two points.”
The Rangers have been playing some good hockey dating back to the Halloween game against the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The Rangers only had three wins up until that game. They are 15-5-1 since their win over the Knights that night. During this period the Rangers have seen their power play get better along with their overall offensive production.
Henrik Lundqvist, who made 33 saves in the Bruins win, made both starts in the back to back games this weekend. “We really had to earn the points in these two games,” Lundqvist said. “But we found a way and it’s a good feeling.
The Rangers have really turned things around since they were 3-7-2, but they know they have a lot of work ahead of them. The key to success is consistency and the Rangers are aware that they must work hard every night in order to keep winning games. Captain Ryan Mcdonagh, who has no goals on the season, has been a workhorse for the Rangers recently. He might not be putting the puck in the nest himself, but his 18 assists are tied for second on the team (Miller) and one behind Mats Zuccarello.
“It was a great job by our whole team,” Mcdonagh said to @NYRangers following the win Saturday night.
"It was a great job by our whole team." – @RMcDonagh27 talks about #NYR's effort in back-to-back nights to earn two wins in two nights. pic.twitter.com/3FunmLAroz
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 17, 2017
The Rangers are learning how to win games or some may say how to not lose games. Regardless of the term, this team is resilient. As good as they have been playing they still only sit in the number one wild card spot.
You’re not going to win every game,” Miller said. “But this is a demanding part of the schedule now, and I think we’re ready for it.”
The Rangers will need to keep up with the rest of the division if they want to keep the playoffs in sight. Demanding part of the schedule is an understatement.