As Rangers Clinch Playoffs, Team Can Learn from Last Year’s Mistakes

Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports

Blanked by Akira Schmid’s 30 save effort, the New York Rangers ended their 2022-2023 season to the sound of cheers at Newark’s Prudential Center. Having lost in seven games to the New Jersey Devils, the Rangers season ended with a first-round playoff exit. They were favored to win the series and be potential Eastern Conference champs, instead, they won the first two games of the series and generated just two goals in their four losses. They were out-scored and out-played and found themselves heading home for the year.

This season, the Rangers have come out strong and have consistently been a top team in the league. They are the first team to reach 100 points this season and with their overtime win against the Flyers on March 26th have secured their playoff spot. Most in the hockey world never doubted the Rangers would be in the playoffs this season, but as Rangers fans are looking toward the quest for the Stanley Cup, memories from last year can creep in. Will this team be able to make a longer playoff push?

The Rangers of this year have proven that they can be resilient. They’ve dealt with injuries to key players like Blake Wheeler, Filip Chytil, Ryan Lindgren, and Jacob Trouba. They’ve seen stretches where goaltender Igor Shesterkin has struggled. Their top line with Zibanejad and Kreider has often not been as effective as anticipated. But this team carries on and finds ways to win. They have 23 come-from-behind wins on the season, so being down has often not meant being out for this group. That resilience is something that can keep the Rangers from repeating their mistakes of last year. Playoff teams like the Hurricanes, Panthers, and Maple Leafs are not only getting scoring from their stars but also from depth players. These teams will generate solid offensive chances continually throughout games and series. The Rangers have several goal-scoring weapons of their own in Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, and Vincent Trocheck, but the team’s passing has been sloppy at times and given their opponents turnover chances. They’ve had defensive struggles at times while dealing with injuries and having to shuffle pairs around. However, K’Andre Miller has been a bright spot on the backend and can hopefully build on that momentum as the playoffs approach. Shesterkin and Quick will be tested in net, but both goaltenders have faced their share of challenges this season and had big moments where their saving abilities kept the Rangers in games. Head coach Peter Laviolette, in his first season with the Rangers, seeks to use his extensive playoff experience to help guide this team in how to rise to the occasion.

The playoffs will be a bigger stage with more on the line, so the chances will be better, the shots more forthcoming, and the saves more important. This Rangers group isn’t afraid of a challenge. They know what’s at stake, and for the majority in the locker room, the sting from their early exit at the hand of their cross-river rivals still feels fresh. But last year’s in the past, and the Rangers are confidently looking ahead.

In this weeks episode, we discuss Chytil potentially returning, Presidents Trophy, Panarin, analysis going into the playoffs and more.For more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Chyting Up For Playoffs
  2. Guest Jack : Playoffs on the Horizon
  3. All Time High Vibes
  4. Guest Josh Khalfin
  5. The Encouraging but Injury Concerning Backend

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