Key Rangers superpower displayed again in win against Red Wings

NHL: New York Rangers at Detroit Red Wings
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

They did it again Friday night. The New York Rangers found a way to win another tight game with a third-period goal to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3. Because that’s what these Rangers do time and again. They simply find a way.

In fact, it’s become a massive part of the Rangers identity this season and will be a key intangible when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in two weeks.

There’s very little panic with this Rangers team because there’s a confidence and belief that they know how to close games out, because they’ve done it time and again. You do something once or twice, or here and there, that’s one thing. You do it over and over, and it’s something else, something bigger.

This is the Rangers’ superpower going into the postseason.

The Blueshirts have the most wins (52) and points (108) in the NHL, in large part because they’re 22-4-4 in one-goal games, 10-2-1 when tied after two periods, 11-4 in overtime and have 26 comeback wins, including nine in the third period.

They know how to pull victories out when the result is still in question because that’s what they’ve done all season. The Rangers have outscored their opponents 99-77 in the third period, their largest differential in any single period this season.

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Rangers superpower will be key in Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL: New York Rangers at Detroit Red Wings
Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers were at it again Friday at Little Caesars Arena. Tied 3-3 after 40 minutes of play against an opponent desperate for a win to remain in the playoff hunt, the Rangers capitalized once again in the third period to snatch victory away from the Red Wings.

And really, did you think the Rangers weren’t going to score when awarded a power play with 10:31 remaining in regulation?

Forty-five seconds later, the Rangers celebrated Chris Kreider’s 108th career power-play goal, tying him with Rod Gilbert for second most in franchise history.

It didn’t feel like a surprise at all. In fact, it’s almost expected for the Rangers to deliver late like this. Just as it felt routine that their PK snuffed out a Red Wings power play with 6:46 to play to secure their seventh win in the past eight games.

Of course, having elite special teams, as the Rangers do, helps put games away, coming through late in the clutch time and again. The Rangers are fourth in the NHL on the power play (25.9 percent) and penalty kill (83.5 percent). That’ll be key in the postseason, for sure, if the Rangers can keep up that dual pace.

But goalie Jonathan Quick touched on another key element in New York’s late-game success this season.

“We did a great job sticking to our structure,” the three-time Stanley Cup champion said postgame.

That has been at the heart of their success, particularly late in games. Trusting each other and the structure instilled by coach Peter Laviolette.

What makes the Rangers even more dangerous is when their structure does break down late, their combination of skill and confidence still comes through. Just reference those recent wild wins against the Arizona Coyotes (8-5) and Philadelphia Flyers (6-5 in overtime).

They say the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a completely different season. But the Rangers will be a difficult out in the postseason tourney this go-round because of their muscle memory knowing how to find ways to win, especially late in tight games.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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