Rangers living up to ‘No Quit in New York’ theme

NHL: Stadium Series-New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The mantra has made it on hats, tee-shirts, rally towels, social media and even enlarged letters for photo ops. However, the New York Rangers signature slogan for the past two seasons has never been more fitting than today.

Tied for first overall in the NHL, the Rangers have put “No Quit in New York” onto the ice. The performance is evident, but the mindset has been instilled in team culture. The Blueshirts could have stumbled because of key injuries, star players struggling and a team-wide slump in January, but never relinquished their hold on first place in the Metropolitan Division.

It’s hard to find a team in the League that’s handled adversity as successfully as the Rangers this season.

Related: 3 reasons why Rangers are legitimate Stanley Cup favorites

‘No Quit in New York’ theme perfect for 2023-24 Rangers

NHL: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s examine a few areas where the Rangers have lived up to this theme during the 2023-24 season.

Rangers keep winning despite key injuries

The Rangers successful season has been challenged by impactful injuries to several star players. In just the second month of the season, Adam Fox and Filip Chytil both landed on LTIR.

This Rangers never faltered, despite losing their No. 1 defenseman and quarterback of the power play in Fox, and their second-line center in Chytil. The Rangers were 7-2-1 in Fox’s absence.

The next-man-up mentality is a representation of this special group. Without Fox for 10 games, Erik Gustafsson quarterbacked the first power-play unit, moved up from the third pairing and was a steady contributor. The Rangers also never skipped a beat early on when Igor Shesterkin missed a handful of games and Jonathan Quick stepped in to keep the wins coming.

Vincent Trocheck not only jumped from third-line center to second, when he replaced Chytil. But he’s excelled in the role, an NHL All-Star this season and second on the Rangers with 69 points. Jonny Brodzinski then came up from the minor leagues to fill the third-line hole and now Alex Wennberg has been a key addition there. This all has helped fill the void since Chytil played only 10 games this season before being shut down for good with an upper-body injury.

Zac Jones has stepped up on more than one occasion. Most recently, the Rangers are 7-2-0 with Jones in the lineup and Jacob Trouba sidelined with a lower-body injury. Chad Ruhwedel has also been solid since entering the lineup for the injured Ryan Lindgren.

“It shows the kind of character in this room. The kind of players that they bring in and have in this organization that are just ready to go. That’s exactly what it’s been next man up has contributed and its been good for the last few games” Ruhwedel said after practice Monday.

Related: Zac Jones keys Rangers’ depth on defense

Rangers overcame midseason woes

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at New York Rangers
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The Rangers jumped out of the gates with a 18-4-1 record to start the season. It appeared that nothing could stop them. But even great teams must go through hardships in an 82-game regular season.

After Thanksgiving break, the Rangers began to falter. They were 10-9-1 after Dec. 5 and even lost four straight games in January. Their West Coast trip included losses to the last-place San Jose Sharks and a slumping Los Angeles Kings team.

A key reason for their midseason struggle was Shesterkin. January represented one of the worst stretches of the goalie’s career. He posted a 3.25 goals-against average and . 863 save percentage, losing five of 10 starts. Since the All Star Break, Shesterkin has bounced back and been among the best goalies in the League.

The Rangers are 18-4-1 — sound familiar? — since Jan. 27.

Rangers are kings of the comeback this season

NHL: Stadium Series-New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

No Quit in New York comes to life when the Rangers are down in games. Fans never leave their seats if the Rangers are down late in the third period. The unforgettable Stadium Series game, for example, saw the Rangers score two goals in under five minutes to tie the game late in the third period and Artemi Panarin proceeded to win it mere seconds into overtime.

The comebacks are not only against average teams. On Saturday, the Rangers rallied from two goals down to defeat the Florida Panthers for their 22nd comeback victory this season, and fourth when trailing by two or more goals. That is the third most in the NHL. Saturday also marked New York’s 10th comeback win when trailing in the third period, tied for second most in the NHL.

“I like the way our guys compete,” Laviolette said earlier this week at MSG Training Center. “I watch practice out here [Wednesday] and I watch us, we’re coming off a game and we go out for almost 30 minutes, and the guys went fast and hard at each other. I think that helps build an identity and who we are. I don’t know if it surprises me [that we’ve been in first place in the Metropolitan Division], I’m just glad that we bought into that concept of that compete every day. I think that translates.“You are what you eat, and if you are that every day, then that’s what you are. I thought that’s been good.”

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