Following last night’s victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers are on fire with 3 consecutive victories and 7 in a row on home ice. The Rangers appear to finally be putting it all together at Madison Square Garden, fans will recall that over the past several years the Rangers have had a rough go of it at MSG but this season they have so far been able to own their building. The Garden Faithful have been rocking this season, too!
Only three points behind Pittsburgh for first place in the Eastern Conference and with 4 games in hand on the Penguins, it cannot be stressed enough just how important it was for the Rangers to win last night’s game. Storming out to a 4-1 lead in the second period on goals by Marian Gaborik, John Mitchell, Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan, the Rangers surrendered a late 2nd period goal to the Pens and held on for their lives in the 3rd period to squeeze out the regulation time victory. Points in the standings are important no matter what time of year it is as the conference is tight and every season the playoff spots aren’t decided until the final games of the year. It would be nice for a change to see the NY Rangers head into the last month of the season with some breathing room instead of fighting tooth and nail just to reach the playoffs.
The NHL season is already 25% complete and the Rangers are looking to continue their strong play into the next 21 games. They are among the stingiest defenses in the league so far and all of this has been done without All-Star shutdown defenseman Marc Staal in the lineup. Staal has yet to play a game this season as he deals with post-concussion symptoms but a positive sign was revealed this week as he has started light skating at the Rangers practice facility. If the Rangers can add their all-star defenseman to the already formidable current lineup, it can be nothing but a huge bonus for the team.
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