New York Rangers
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The New York Rangers 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens has them two points out of an improbable wild-card position.

Frank Curto

The New York Rangers continue to find ways to win. Five straight victories and an outstanding nine consecutive road wins, which is the longest in franchise history and the first time in the NHL since 2017-2018 (Nashville Predators), has brought the Blueshirts within two points of a wild card spot.

Wait, there is more good news; a look at the standings in the Metropolitan division shows the Philadelphia Flyers in third place are just five points ahead of the Rangers.

The Rangers, 35-24-4, 74 points, have shown they belong in the playoff chase. The team has had a great month of February posting an 11-3 record. The Blueshirts’ 11 wins in February in 2019-20 are the most the team has earned in the month in one season in franchise history.

The accolades continue with the Rangers becoming one of the most dominating third-period teams in the National Hockey League. The team has outscored their opponents 81-56, in the third period this season, and their plus-25 goal differential in the third period this season is the best in the NHL (per NYR Stats & Info).

The most underrated weapon over the past month has been head coach David Quinn. He is been able to keep his team focused on the game even though the team has had their share of distractions.

Quinn has brought the youngest team in the NHL into the postseason chase. He had to deal with the constant trade rumors involving veteran Chris Kreider, the rough season by second overall pick Kaapo Kakko, and the three goalie fiasco which resulted in the benching of Henrik Lundqvist.

The sophomore bench boss handled all of this while continuing to win games like they did Thursday night in Montreal, where they defeated the Canadiens 5-2.

The win now sets up a huge home and home series with the Philadelphia Flyers, another big test for a team with playoff ramifications on the line.

This team has worked hard and earned the opportunity that seemed improbable when the new year began. The Rangers have gelled as a team over the last month and a half of hockey. They survived the tribulations of a young team that has now grown into a hockey team that is strong on the puck, energetic and capable of scoring goals when needed.

A club that struggled defensively early on in the season now has the confidence to play against any team in the league. Their leaders on the blue line are not the ones named Marc Staal or Jacob Trouba. Instead, they are two of the youngest blueliners on the team.

Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren have become the team’s top defense pairing. Both were involved in the win Thursday as Lindgren had two assists and Fox recorded the game-winning goal.

The club is lead by Artemi Panarin (32 goals) and Mika Zibanejad (30 goals). The two combined for the game-winning OT goal against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night and again when Quinn put them on the same line to start the third period on Thursday night.

The road warriors will take their act to Philadelphia Friday night before returning to MSG on Sunday.

The talk of the “letter” and rebuilding are behind them now. It’s time to focus on winning hockey games and a possible return to the Stanley Cup Payoffs.

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