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  • Feb

    New York Rangers Have Mediocre January – Battling For Top Spot In Atlantic Division

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    The New York Rangers finished the month of January with a 6-6 record. Although the Rangers are still looking like one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, if you ask the players, they would probably call their performance a bit of a disappointment with too much inconsistency. The Rangers lost to the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins in close 1-goal games – the 2 top teams in the East. They also lost to the Montreal Canadiens and finished 1-2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. On the other hand, the Rangers defeated the Blackhawks in Chicago and the Ducks at home – 2 of the better teams in the Western Conference.

    The Rangers have 62 points, and currently sit in the 5th spot in the East. The Canadiens also have 62 points and the Philadelphia Flyers have 61 points, so it is definitely crowded at the top. The Rangers also trail the New Jersey Devils – 9-1 in their last 10 games – for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, so the race for the top spot in the division and at least a 3rd seed is not out of reach just yet.

    The upcoming schedule is favorable for the Rangers. The Rangers take on Atlanta at home on Tuesday night. Then it’s on the road for games against the Dallas Stars and the Devils. After a quick pit-stop against the Capitals at home, the Rangers travel again to Florida to take on the Panthers. After another tough match-up at home against the Flyers, the Rangers play 7 consecutive games against teams with less points than the Rangers right now – St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs (home and home), Panthers and Colorado Avalanche. If the Rangers can swing a few victories against the Devils, Capitals and Flyers and then win 6 of the 7 games against the “beatable” teams, the Rangers could find themselves in great shape entering the month of March for the stretch run.

    The Rangers will need to get great goal-tending from Henrik Lundqvist who has struggled of late – losing 3 of his last 4 starts. The Rangers will also rely heavily upon their 4 top point scorers – Nikolai Zherdev, Scott Gomez, Markus Naslund and Chris Drury – for consistent play on a nightly basis. If Brandon Dubinsky and Michal Rozsival can continue to step up their games with numerous assists, the Rangers could make a bold statement to the rest of the league. It’s all just sitting there for the Blue Shirts – now they just need to go and take it…

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