By: Nick Lavinio
After stepping off the ice in Edmonton on Saturday night, the New York Rangers astonishingly found 6 points to have fallen right into their laps. The team completed a full three-game sweep of its Canadian road trip, taking down the Canucks, Flames, and Oilers in that stretch. And all of a sudden, the Rangers might have placed themselves back in the hunt for the playoffs... Following the matchup against the Oilers, the team was just peaking over the horizon 3 points behind the 2nd wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The new-look Rangers started off the month of March with back-to-back wins after suffering an abysmal month of February, going all but 3-11 in the second month of the year. The Canadian winning stint followed a 7-game losing streak for the team, and new life for the skaters and for Henrik Lundqvist seemed tangibly imminent.
Falling hard by a score of 3-0 on Tuesday night to the Winnipeg Jets, who boast one of the best records in the Western Conference thanks to the budding star Patrick Laine, who netted a hattrick in the outing and now has 38 goals on the season (second in the NHL), the early road for this young Rangers team does not get any easier. The team must travel south to face the dominant Tampa Bay Lighting and the Florida Panthers, who are still tenaciously competing for the coveted 2nd wild card spot as well.
The Rangers have been skating well recently, though. Much of that has to do with a plethora of young, inexperienced talent trying to prove their worth and spot on this team, a work ethic which is inevitably contagious. Realistically, after enduring through the heartbreak of losing one great Ranger captain in Ryan McDonagh and a handful of other big names at the trade deadline, the New York Rangers have low expectations for this young team looking to find a groove and improve their future success. All in all, if the Rangers do in fact make it to the playoffs with this “rag-tag” group of hopefuls, it’s an added bonus for fans everywhere. Consequently, if the team falls short, fans should not have reason to be discouraged, as the New York Rangers can rebound quickly with a bright future sighting before them and a still-talented team that needs a lot of work and a load of chemistry.
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