Posted by Rick Laughland Posted on 11:51:00 AM with No comments
There were a lot of questions about how the Rangers were trying to put together a consistent winning streak as they played inconsistent and it showed in their 3-2 loss at the Detroit Red Wings as they scored two goals in the first period and allowed two late in the second and the go ahead by the wings in the third on December 6th.
But since a big overtime win at the Garden against the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 8th the Rangers have been racking up the points and put themselves into a playoff position as they are now ahead of the Washington Capitals for third place in the Metropolitan division. A big western Canadian swing helped them get into a groove that we haven’t seen in a while.
A five goal explosion in Vancouver which later on back to back days travel to Edmonton with a slow and defensive two goal shutout victory. The toughest opponent in this road trip was the Calgary Flames, but once again it was another goal explosion as the Rangers scored four and an empty netter made it five.
Then a back to back series against the Carolina Hurricanes as the Rangers won the first game in Raleigh in a shootout with another tight defensive game in the back end at the Garden that led Cam Talbot to earn his third shutout of the season.
All four lines have been used by head coach Alain Vigneault and so far most of them have scored a ton of goals from Rick Nash who converted his 11th 20 goal season in the middle of December and plenty of action from Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan starting to roll. Since the recall of J.T. Miller due to Derick Brassard catching the mumps he scored a fantastic power play goal in Raleigh faking out Cam Ward and with the return of Brassard continues to play in the rink.
The defenseman continues to show support for their forwards especially from Kevin Klein who continues to score from the point and has tallied seven goals which includes the game winner in OT against the Penguins and the game tying goal in Raleigh against the Hurricanes. The trade to bring Kevin Klein over from the Nashville Predators for Michael Del Zotto last season has proven that he can be a solid defensive defenseman and has the ability to convert when he is needed.
The Rangers will be hosting the Washington Capitals at the Garden on December 24th with the chance to continue their winning ways and to keep themselves in third place in the Metropolitan Division, we have seen Alexander Ovechkin starting to heat up again and hopefully the Rangers can cool him off to earn another victory.
Author: Daniel Feuerstein