New York Rangers strong start to playoffs signals last year was no fluke
The New York Rangers‘ postseason has gotten off to a powerful start by defeating the New Jersey Devils 5-1 in each of the first two games of this series.
After unexpectedly going to the conference finals last season, the Rangers are out to prove that it was not a fluke. While it has only been two games, they’ve already made a statement and showing clear potential to make a deep run for the Cup.
According to the Rangers, this is only second time in franchise history where they won their first two playoff games by four or more goals. The first time it occurred was in 1994, and when they beat the New York Islanders by identical scores of 6-0.
We all know how that playoff run finished.
New York Rangers making a statement early
Contributions from up and down the lineup
So far, the Rangers have gotten offensive contributions from a variety of players.
Chris Kreider has already recorded four goals by assuming his position in front of the net which has proven to be a weak spot for the Devils. Additionally, Vladimir Tarasenko has two goals, and Patrick Kane, Filip Chytil, and Kaapo Kakko each have one. Ryan Lindgren was an unexpected goal scorer in game one, roofing the puck on the short side.
Adam Fox has six assists through the first two games. K’Andre Miller, Artemi Panarin, Chytil, Kane, Kakko, Mika Zibanejad, and Niko Mikkola have all recorded assists as well.
These contributions are vital to the Rangers’ success, particularly as the playoffs progress. Playoff success is a full team effort, and so far the Rangers are showing promise in this area.
No Quit in New York means a full 60 minutes
A commonality between each of the first two games is that the Rangers sustained a complete effort for nearly an entire 60 minutes.
Even though they went down 1-0 in the first period in Game 2, they outshot the Devils 14-9 and did not lose their composure after allowing the initial goal. Rather, they were able to make a swift comeback on Tarasenko’s goal in the second and proceeded to score four more times to win.
As Braden Schneider mentioned between the first and second periods, the Rangers needed to stick to their game. They were patient and eventually got the end result they were looking for.
“As a whole, I don’t think we’re giving up too many odd man rushes and that bodes well for us,” captain Jacob Trouba noted. “We play our game and over the course of 60 minutes we feel we’ll score enough goals.”
Special teams have played a significant role in the first two games. The Rangers were two for three on the power play and four for four on the penalty kill in Game 1. They were two for seven on the power play and three for four on the penalty kill in Game 2. Overall, their power play is clicking at 40% right now and their penalty kill is at 87.5%.
These numbers are excellent, and unlikely to be sustained over the course of four series if the Blueshirts go all the way. However, it is an extremely promising sign that whatever troubles they had on the power play after the trade deadline appear to be figured out.
It has only been two games, but the Rangers are already demonstrating that they can compete in the playoffs. They are setting themselves up for a solid run. The Devils will be looking to cut the Rangers’ series lead in half on Saturday, so it is important that they stick to their game and prepare for the Devils to pressure them.
Note: All stats come from nhl.com