The Rangers Are Back

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The New York Rangers were one of the league’s biggest surprises last season.

The team finished second in the Metropolitan Division and seventh in the NHL with a 52-24-6 record for 110 points. They also shocked many hockey fans and pundits n the Stanley Cup playoffs last season as they made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

Due to their success last season, the Blueshirts came into this year with high expectations. Many in the hockey world expected the team to pick up right where they left off and perhaps be even better than they were last season.

The Rangers struggled out of the gate and into the middle of December. They were inconsistent in every area of their game and were nowhere close to resembling the team they were last season.

Fast forward to now (Friday, January 13), and all appears to be going right for the Rangers. The team is tied for second in the division with the upstart New Jersey Devils and is also tied for seventh in the league with a 24-12-7 record and 55 points.

There are a few reasons why the Rangers have found their game. For starters, All-Star goaltender and last year’s Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s top masked man Igor Shesterkin is back to playing at a high level.

Shesterkin, 27, is 20-6-6 with a 2.44 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage, and one shutout. He is back to stealing games for his hockey club and being one of the main reasons why the team wins.

Speaking of keeping the puck out of the net, the team has done a great job of doing that as a whole. They are seventh in the league in goals allowed, as they have given up 115 goals in 43 games (2.67 goals against per game).

The Blueshirts have managed to do a better job of not allowing as many shots on goal this season as they are doing a much better job of protecting Shesterkin this season and are not leaving him out to dry as much as they did last season. On the season, they are seventh in the league in shots allowed per game, as they give up 29.2 shots per game.

The Rangers are also getting unbelievable play from defenseman Adam Fox. Fox, 24, is third on the team in scoring with 44 points on nine goals and 35 assists.

On several occasions, Fox has come through in the clutch for his team this season. He leads the club with four game-winning goals.

Of course, the team is also getting solid play from the usual suspects on a more consistent basis. Players like Artemi Panarin (46 points), Mika Zibanejad (45 points), newcomer Vincent Trocheck (31 points), and Chris Kreider (30 points) are all playing as they should be in helping the team win games.

With half the season still to play, the Rangers have again positioned themselves as Cup contenders come April.

In this week's episode, we have on guest HockeyStatMiner to discuss NYR's Salary cap situation, potential moves and more.How 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. Guest HockeyStatMiner
  2. Many Directions, One Goal
  3. A Heartbreaking End, Offseason Begins
  4. Game 5 Recap : Guest Joe Fortunato
  5. Game 4 Recap : Breakout Breakdown

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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