The New York Rangers have had a roller coaster ride of a season so far. Losing streaks, winning streaks and everything in between comes with a young hockey squad.
The New York Rangers game against the Winnipeg Jets pretty much summed up how the season has played out for David Quinn’s Blueshirts.
The team was pretty much outplayed throughout the first two periods of the contest, yet they entered the third period up 3-0. Then the team gave up an early goal and the onslaught of pressure began. When the dust settled the Rangers found themselves losers by a final of 4-3 in a shootout. A point gained, but really it was a point lost.
This is how the season was anticipated to go when the team took the ice in October. A sluggish 3-7-1 start, followed by a 10-2-1 roll, now losers of their last five out of six games with their lone win coming on Nov. 26 against Ottawa (4-2 win).
The rookies have cooled off as Brett Howden and Filip Chytil have not been as productive on the scoring sheet. Alexander Georgiev has been good in net backing up Henrik Lundqvist but his record of 4-4 is not what was expected of him when he does get into games.
Veteran players such as Kevin Hayes and Kevin Shattenkirk have been streaky at best, though they have been carrying the team through the tough games. Jimmy Vesey and Jesper fast battle every game, but they are not the kinds of players to carry the team offensively.
Head coach David Quinn deserves a lot of credit for the position the team currently sits in the standings. The Rangers are in fourth place in the Metro Division and ninth place in the conference, just three points behind eighth-place Montreal.
Quinn’s constant communication during practices, games and at times when a player is benched has made the team stronger. Players now know what they have done wrong or need to do to improve. They understand why they are sitting out games, not guessing as in past coaching administrations.
Like it or not injuries have played a big role in why the team has struggled somewhat. In their game, last Saturday against Montreal the Rangers had six rookies in the lineup including starting goaltender Georgiev. A tough task to ask of especially when the game was played on the Canadiens home ice.
The leader of the team has been Henrik Lundqvist. The man has done everything he can to get the team wins and keep the Blueshirts in most of their up to this point of the season. The King has played in 21 games posting nine wins with 2.63 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. For his career, Lundqvist has a .919 save percentage.
Mika Zibanejead along with Chris Kreider has had the season the team was hoping for. A season that has the two scoring goals and recording points and showing the younger players the in and outs of a tough NHL schedule.
Seize the Moment
The Rangers now have a full week off due to a strange schedule the NHL has laid out for them. The team hope the injured players will get back soon, they will have some practices now where the coaching staff can get back to what worked so well earlier in the season. The rookies on the team have not experienced the grind of an NHL season. The hitting, skating, and pressure that come with every game played is unlike anything most of these players have played in before.
The time to regroup is now, and though the team has been losing more than winning, the Rangers overall should be thrilled with how the season has gone.
This is still a time of educating and learning for most of the squad. The potential to make a playoff run is real and once the team gets whole again, You would have to expect the team will start to put better games together and keep finding ways to move up in the standings.
Effort and passion have been the focal point of the year. The teams play can be frustrating at moments, but the team’s direction is heading the right way.