New York Rangers early success rivaling that of 1994 Cup winning squad

The New York Rangers wake up this morning sitting in first place in the Metro Division after 26 games. Their 18-5-3 record for 39 points is good not only for the division, but tied with the Minnesota Wild for second overall in the entire NHL.

While this season is still relatively young, it is rivaling that of the franchise’s most successful campaign in 1994.

New York Rangers great start

As the team continues to find ways to win, even with their backup netminder, they aren’t getting complacent.

“Ultimately, it’s the two points that matter,” Mika Zibanejad said after last night’s 2-1 win over the Sabres. “We know if we want to keep getting these two points, we need to play more complete games.”

Zibanejad opened the scoring when he broke a 14-game drought with his first goal since Nov. 5.

rangers standings
Dec 10, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) celebrates his goal with center Ryan Strome (16) during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Fox made a pass to Artemi Panarin, whose cross-ice pass caromed off Buffalo center Mark Jankowski’s skate and the left post to Zibanejad for the easy tap-in into the vacated left side of the net.

Despite Mika’s critical self-assessment, this team has now tied the 1993-94 Blueshirts for most wins through 26 games (18). They also tied the 1971-72 squad for most points (39) in the same span. Both of those teams went to the Stanley Cup Final with the 94 team hoisting hockey’s holy grail towards the iconic ceiling of Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers are riding a good wave having won eight times in nine games and improving to 12-2-0 in their past 14 games. This last victory was a nice bounce back from Wednesday’s 7-3 loss to the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

As the points continue to come, the Rangers are on pace for 123 points, which would be the most in franchise history. The 1994 Rangers won the Presidents’ Trophy with 112, the 2014-15 squad holds the record with 113.

An impressive start to the season indeed.

Rangers showing they are resilient

Alexandar Georgiev made a season-high 36 saves, Adam Fox added two assists and the visiting New York Rangers held on for a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.

In his third start since Igor Shesterkin was injured against the San Jose Sharks, Georgiev came within 5:23 of his first shutout this season. After a quiet opening 20 minutes, he made 30 saves over the final two periods, including 17 in the third.

“Felt like there were a lot of shots so I didn’t have too much time to think about anything else, just the game,” Georgiev said. “Tight score through the whole game. Felt really good to get that win.”

Still, there’s room for improvement and the head coach understands that.

“We talk about it a lot in the locker room about changing momentum of the game, and we started turning pucks over again and that gave them momentum. Buffalo works hard, they compete hard, but we gave them a lot of those opportunities in the second period,” Gerard Gallant explained. “Self-inflicted wounds, so we’ve got to be better in those situations. Again, got to get that 60-minute game and we’re still working at it.”

As the Rangers work out the kinks, they continue their meteoric rise up the standings and from mediocrity that confounded them for years.

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–Field Level Media contributed to this report