Well, it certainly took them long enough!
22 games into this year’s NHL season, the Rangers have finally started to come around. Not exactly in terrific position in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but with a three-point lead on ninth-seeded Winnipeg and two points below sixth-seeded Ottawa, New York finally is back on track.
The biggest reason for the Blueshirts finding their stride has been the emergence of Rick Nash as a bona fide game-breaker. Some of the moves he has put on display these past few games have been nothing short of stunning. Nash has eight points (five goals, three assists) since returning from an apparent head injury. He has turned into a scoring threat every time he’s on the ice and has become the player that Ranger fans have been looking for since Jaromir Jagr left after the 2007-2008 season.
Another key reason for the Rangers’ resurgence has been the return of Henrik Lundqvist to his Vezina Trophy form. His save percentage and goals-against average have both gone up during each month and is now at .921 and 2.27, respectively, for the season which is right at his career averages. There is no reason to believe that King Henrik won’t continue his rule over opposing shooters and be in the running for best goalie at the end of the season.
The third and final aspect of the Rangers’ revival is the power play coming back from the dead. This also has a lot to do with Rick Nash and his ability to carry the puck into the offensive zone as well as make plays for himself and his teammates. The Rangers’ power play has been anemic, dreadful, atrocious, abominable, horrendous, and any other terrible adjective you could think of. Over the past four games they have done a complete 180 and scored five power play goals in their past four games. For comparison, they scored seven PPG in their previous 18 games.
So there you have it, Ranger fans. Your team is alive and well. Lundqvist, Nash and the power play are all peaking and just in time for the second half of the season. As long as they can avoid injuries (which they haven’t been able to do even during the winning streak as Brad Richards and Marc Staal both went down), they will be in the running to hold up Lord Stanley’s Cup in June.