Rangers quietly having another strong regular season regardless of critics
Yesterday, I got into a conversation with an Islanders’ fan at work about the Rangers. He was complaining how the Isles were in great position to take over the Rangers and have fallen apart recently. This caused me to stop and get over the miserable Western trip and look at the Rangers from a 30,000′ bird’s eye view.
What I found was a team that was the 6th best team in the league with 90 points. As of today, they are 7 points behind 2nd overall Dallas and just 1 point off defending Cup Champs Chicago with a game in hand. What the hell are we complaining about?
Right now the Capitals are the cream of the crop in the NHL. Congrats! Last year the Rangers were and they lost in the Conference Final. Today’s NY Post ran a piece that completely hits home. Larry Brooks wrote that the Rangers are confident they can get it done in the playoffs – and I believe it.
[su_quote cite=”Henrik Lundqvist via NYPOST” url=”http://nypost.com/2016/03/22/why-rangers-lundqvist-are-confident-a-cup-run-is-possible/”]“You know, for a team to be able to have a season like we did last year or maybe like Washington is having this year, it takes a lot out of you and your group,” Henrik Lundqvist told The Post following Tuesday’s practice. “It’s not easy. “Of course, there are high expectations for this team. We accept that. We have those same expectations. We haven’t played as consistently well as we would have liked. We know that. “But you look at the standings and we have 90 points. Then you look at other teams, and you see Chicago with 90, or 91. You see L.A. with 90, or 93. Florida, having such a good year, with . “It’s tough. It’s a tough league. It’s not easy to go all year and get 115 points. We have a good group here.”[/su_quote]
Lundqvist hit the nail on the head and he also hit on a portion of the conversation me and the Isles’ fan had. I was recalling how dominating a regular season like the Caps have doesn’t guarantee a Cup. I was recalling the dominant Detroit teams of the 90’s and a monster 131 point season (95-96) where they lost in the Conference Final.
The Rangers did that last year and lost in the Conference Final and it could very well happen to the Caps this season. So why not believe Henrik about getting it done when it counts this Spring? I wouldn’t claim the Rangers have been coasting this season, nor am I ignoring the issues on defense. The number of men alone in front, coverage breakdowns and blown leads is scary. However, there is no more battle tested playoff team in the East than the Blueshirts.
For the record, the Red Wings lost in the Stanley Cup Final in 94-95, lost in the WCF in 95-96 and won the Cup in 96-97.
Hey! The Rangers lost in the Stanley Cup Final in 2013/14, lost in the ECF in 2014/15 and…well let’s see what happens in 2015/16.