New York Rangers gear up for tough slate of games in March

NHL: New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

After dominating in the month of February with a 10-1-0 record, the New York Rangers are now looking ahead to March. They are set for a difficult slate of games as the Mar. 8th trade deadline approaches and the playoff push intensifies.

Of the 14 contests in the month of March, seven of them are against top-10 teams in the NHL and nine are against teams in the top-15. The Rangers will face some of the League’s best over the course of the month, and will be put to the test in nearly every match up.

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New York Rangers tough March schedule

NHL: New York Rangers at Florida Panthers
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

New York opens the month against two tough opponents beginning with a visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Mar. 2, and returning home to face the Florida Panthers on the 4th.

Florida currently leads the NHL with 84 points and a points percentage of .700. These games will be a good test against two teams that produce high quality offense and will serve as a benchmark for the Rangers against two championship contenders.

The two games against Toronto and Florida will also be the final two games before the trade deadline on Mar. 8. Any potential moves may come before or in between these games to give incoming players a chance to acclimate to the Rangers.

“You need to find the right fit,” TSN analyst and former Rangers goalie Marty Biron told Forever Blueshirts. “You don’t need to go and get Jake Guentzel to play on that top line – just as an example, not saying the Rangers have interest in him. What you need is in between what you have and what you could get at the top end.”

After hosting the St. Louis Blues on the 9th, the New Jersey Devils will visit Madison Square Garden for another installment of the Hudson River rivalry on the 11th. After their last meeting on February 22nd, where the Rangers blasted them 5-1, there may still be some bad blood from the Matt Rempe hit on Nathan Bastian.

The game against New Jersey will be the first half of a back-to-back for New York. On the 12th, they will visit the Carolina Hurricanes to also begin a three-game road trip. This is shaping up to be a huge divisional game, as Carolina sits second in the Metropolitan Division just five points behind the Rangers.

The Blueshirts will then visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on the 14th. Tampa Bay is holding on to the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference at the moment and will not go down easily.

Following the Lightning, New York will have another back-to-back set of games. First in Pittsburgh against the Penguins on the 16th, then back home against the New York Islanders on the 17th in a Stadium Series rematch. Both of these games will be important as the Penguins and Islanders are within reach of a wild card spot.

The next three games will be the hardest stretch of the month and will show how the Rangers stack up against some of the NHL’s best.

On Mar. 19, New York will host the Winnipeg Jets, who are fighting for the top spot in the Western Conference. Two days later, on the 21st, they will visit the Boston Bruins, who are currently tied with the Panthers atop the League standings. This rivalry always proves to be a tough match up for the Rangers and this installment should be no different.

If that wasn’t hard enough, the Rangers will have another contest against the Panthers on Mar. 23. in a national broadcast on ABC. This time the setting will be Madison Square Garden.

“We hate losing,” coach Peter Laviolette explained. “Our team has done a decent job of (rebounding after a loss).”

To close out March, New York will play the Philadelphia Flyers on the 26th, and the Colorado Avalanche on the 28th. These will once again prove to be tough games against good opponents. The Flyers currently sit third in the Metropolitan Division and are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2019-20 season. Colorado is in the hunt for the Central Division title and is looking to reclaim the Stanley Cup after winning it just two seasons ago.

The final game of the month comes on Mar. 30th. New York closes it out with a potential trap game in Arizona against the 28th ranked Coyotes, who will likely have a lot less veterans after their annual trade deadline fire sale.

When looking at the slate of games for the month of March, there seems to be no easy contest. Each team is either a contender, or a team that is in the hunt and hungry for points. The Rangers will have to continue playing at the level that made them so successful in the month of February if they want to remain atop the standings after March.

With the trade deadline just days away, each point earned becomes more valuable. New York’s record over these 14 games will really prove if they are ready to contend for a Stanley Cup.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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