For the 6th straight game, the Rangers came out on top with 2 points against their opponent. They are off to an impressive start, showing much optimism for another run at the cup for the third straight year. Last night, they dominated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0, with Henrik Lundqvist recording his first shutout of the season. Although it is his first shutout, the Rangers have been averaging the lowest goals against in the league, and the 5th highest goals per game. The team has a 4 point lead over the Washington Capitals for 1st place in the Metropolitan division, and show no signs of slowing down.
The Rangers definitely lost some key talent over the offseason, with St. Louis retiring, Talbot being traded to the Oilers, and Hagelin being traded to the ducks, who was a fan favorite. These trades have not shown negative impact towards this team to start the year, for they are tied as the second best team in the NHL right now. Mats Zuccarello has return to form nicely from his scary injury in the playoffs last year, leading the team in points and goals scored. Keith Yandle is also starting to perform like he was expected to, when the Rangers acquired him from the Coyotes during the season last year, leading the team with 8 assists.
The window for Lundqvist to win a Stanley cup is definitely closing, but early on in this season, there is high optimism that this team can make another run in the playoffs. This team would be going on its 6th straight season to the playoffs, where experience definitely shows in key moments in a series. Alain Vigneault has clearly shown that he has what it takes to lead a team strongly in the regular season, and even make that key run, but does he have what it takes to finally take this team to the promise land?
It is only a little over the quarter of the way through the season, but the hopes of this Rangers team keeping up the pace in which they are playing is very strong. The way the NHL has seen this team play the last couple of years, we shouldn’t be surprised to see this team continue its success for the rest of the season. This is not an easy team to face in the playoffs either, as we have seen teams struggle to put them away, or even choke when facing a 3-1 series lead. This team is hungry for a cup, and this could possibly be the year.