Rangers Resurgence From Playoff Heartbreak to Cup Contenders

Rangers Resurgence From Playoff Heartbreak to Cup Contenders

The New York Rangers are on a mission this season. After that gut-wrenching first-round loss to the Devils last year, this team has come back with a vengeance, and it's evident in every move they make on the ice.

Captain Jacob Trouba summed it up perfectly: "That one stung for a while." But instead of wallowing, the Rangers channeled that sting into pure determination. With a new head coach in Peter Laviolette and a symbolic hair shearing from Artemi Panarin (yes, you heard that right), this team was ready to rewrite their story.

And boy, have they done just that! A scorching 19-7-1 start through the first 27 games, boasting a .722 points percentage that's third best in the entire NHL. Let me remind you, the Rangers have never finished a season with a points percentage over .700 since their inaugural season in 1926. Talk about rewriting the history books!

Panarin, with his fresh new look, has been setting the ice on fire with 39 points in 27 games, sparking MVP talks. Chris Kreider's been contributing with 14 goals, and even with injuries to key players like Adam Fox, Filip Chytil, and Kaapo Kakko, the Rangers kept the wins coming.

But here's where the skeptics raise an eyebrow. Can the Rangers sustain this level of play? My man Younggren thinks they might be riding a bit too high on luck. The 9-0-1 record in one-goal games? According to him, that's a bit too good to be true, easily the best winning percentage in those situations in the league.

Now, don't get me wrong; I'm all for the Rangers' success. But Younggren warns that relying solely on goaltending and a killer power play might be a risky business in the long run. However, he does give credit where it's due, acknowledging the consistency in the roster and previous performances.

And let's talk goalies. While Igor Shesterkin might be having a bit of an off season with a .902 save percentage, the Rangers have a secret weapon in Jonathan Quick, who's been holding the fort with an 8-0-1 record and a .922 save percentage.

Laviolette is happy with where they stand, but he's not satisfied. He's got his eyes set on the bigger prize – the playoffs. It's not about flipping a switch; it's about pushing the team throughout the season to play that playoff-style hockey. The kind that takes you all the way to lifting the Cup.

The urgency is palpable in the Rangers' camp. They're not just out there to erase the memories of last postseason; they're here to create new ones, ones that end with them hoisting the Cup together. "The core guys have been here for a while now. We have limited chances. That's the reality of the sport," Trouba said. "The time is now." And you better believe it, sports fans. The time is now for the New York Rangers.
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