Rangers in third place Six Points behind PenguinsBy David A.
With the NHL season shortened, getting a quick start out of the gate is important. However, the New York Rangers did not succeed in doing that and now must battle their way back to the top.
Mediocre is how that Rangers have started their season as they are 5-5 after 10 games and already 6 points behind front running Pittsburgh that has won 8 out of their first 11 games. New Jersey has 15 points and is in second five points ahead of the Rangers. New York is already in the red in goals scored as they have allowed 26 while scoring just 24.
The Rangers won Thursday night 4-1 against the New York Islanders, but have already heard the boos from Madison Square Garden fans, who will even boo during the best of times. Rangers’ fans will boo based on a bad period or even if a power play does not work their liking.
Fans are not that pleased however with the start the Rangers have put together as they are just .500 and this same team reached the Eastern Conference finals a season ago.
The Rangers have been off to a sluggish start and their fans have only known how it is to lose for the past seven decades, with the exception of the magic that took place in 1994.
Some hockey writers are already saying the Rangers will not earn a top seed this season as they did last year since they have little depth and no scoring outside of their top line.
Others disagree saying the Rangers have played sluggish and mediocre but have 38 games left to get back to the top, but to do so will have to fight with the likes of Eastern rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins.
Thursday’s win was thanks to a strong performance by their special units. Prior to Thursday’s game the Rangers had scored on only 3 of their 35 power play attempts and had given up power play goals 22% of the time, which is very low especially for a team with the likes of Henrik Lundqvist in goal and what most hockey experts call the best defense in hockey.
The game has too many variables to figure out in just 10 games what is causing the problems for the Rangers. Coach John Tortorella felt his Rangers played better in their 3-1 loss on Tuesday to the New Jersey Devils than they did in their 4-1 win Thursday.
The key, says Marc Staal, a stalwart on defense is playing better each game and trying to become more consistent as they are winning one and then losing won and repeating themselves.
Adding to their difficult start is that fans are not as patient with teams today as they had to endure a long lockout that did not make any of them happy.
Rangers’ fans however, can be rest assured that their team will be their come playoff time. With a very strong defense and a top goaltender, the Rangers will continue to win games they may be outplayed and will find a hot streak during the last 38 games.