Big Week Ahead for the Blueshirts

Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

While the New York Rangers currently (Sunday, January 22) sit third in the Metropolitan Division with a 25-14-7 record and 57 points, there is no doubt that their play has slipped over the last two weeks.

Yes, the Blueshirts beat two good teams, the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars, in a shootout and overtime, respectively, last week, but then this past week, they lost to the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins. If you are counting at home, that is 2-2 in their last four games, which does not exactly spell great hockey.

Because of the team’s inconsistent play over the last two weeks, they now go into this upcoming week with three big games. They will take on the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden on Monday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto on Wednesday night, and then the Vegas Golden Knights at home on Friday night before having a week of no games and the All-Star weekend.

One reason why this week is important for the Rangers is because of how tight things are in their division. The Washington Capitals sit two points behind the Rangers, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are close too, as they are four points behind the Blueshirts.

The Capitals and Penguins are known to find their games at the right time. These teams know how to win, do not miss the playoffs, and will do everything they can to put themselves in a favorable position so that they can have success come April.

Secondly, the Rangers should want to go into the break playing their best hockey. No one on the team wants to go into the break on a losing note and, instead, wants to go into it knowing that when they come back, they will have some positive momentum.

Right now, it is tough to figure out where this team’s game is. Yes, they have a winning record and are in a playoff spot, but they are certainly not playing the way they should be.

The Rangers should have been able to beat the Montreal Canadiens last Sunday night at MSG. The Canadiens were coming into the game having played the night before, while the Rangers had not played since that past Thursday night.

Instead, the team came out of it with a 2-1 loss. Yes, they ran into a hot goaltender in Canadiens’ goalie Sam Montembeault, but that does not excuse the fact that they missed several opportunities to win the game.

They ran into another hot goaltender in their 3-1 loss to the Bruins on Thursday night. Jeremy Swayman made 31 saves as the Rangers did everything they can to stay with the league’s best team.

Lastly, this week presents an opportunity to pick up six big points. The Rangers still have a chance to catch the teams in front of them, the New Jersey Devils (62 points) and Carolina Hurricanes (66 points), so coming away with three wins would do a lot to continue to put pressure on those teams.

It will be interesting to see what the Blueshirts do this week. If the Rangers play the way that they should, a three-game winning streak would be the perfect way to go into the break.

Stanley Cup Aspirations Cue’ the Duck Boats Pod

The boys are back after a long break but have plenty to talk about as the playoffs are in full swing. We go series by series, looking at how teams have fared so far and who will come out on top. Thanks 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. Stanley Cup Aspirations
  2. The Final Countdown
  3. Here Come the Playoffs
  4. Home Stretch
  5. Kevy Cooks

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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