New York Rangers Looking to Gain Ground in Metro Division

Getty Images

Three games, three big chances for the Rangers to get ahead in the division, and possibly back in the mix in one of the top three positions in the division if they can win all three games.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Rangers start Tuesday night by facing the Pittsburgh Penguins. Our staff writer, Noah Weiss, covered this game for us this morning and you can check out his preview here.

The importance of these three games is crucial, as points are pretty hard to come by when you start entering the middle months of the season. As the Rangers schedule gets tougher, we’ll be looking as to how they played during this month when it comes to playoff seeding.

The Rangers will have a tough go with Mika Zibanejad likely missing his third straight game with a concussion. The mystery of concussions is just that, a mystery. While he could be ready to go by Friday’s game against Washington, we really don’t know if that’s going to be the case, because concussions are hard to gauge.

Washington Capitals

The Capitals are slowly starting to right their own ship after a tough start, currently sitting fourth in the metro, a point ahead of the Rangers. They have a game Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks, before facing the Rangers on Friday night.

As with anything, staying out of the penalty box for the Rangers will be key, as Alexander Ovechkin is deadly from his favorite spot on the power play. This should be another game where Henrik Lundqvist starts, as this will be a tough matchup for the Rangers, and they’ll need everyone on deck to play a very tight game.

What also has been a surprise for the Capitals? Their slow start to the season was one, as they were struggling just as bad as the Rangers, but just like the Rangers, have shown a little more in terms of quality. Will the Rangers be able to keep up with the Capitals offense? Will they be able to have a quality defensive game, holding back the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin?

New Jersey Devils

No, these are not the Devils that have missed the playoffs since 2012-2013. Currently sitting in a tie for second with the Islanders, a point behind Columbus in the Metro division.

Sure, we can say this team cooled off a bit. But the youth this team has and the fight this team has is far more exciting for the team based in Newark. It’s almost as if they have a good chance at being a surprise team in the Metro division, and be a spoiler to a team who is fighting for a spot in.

Cory Schneider is a goalie that Alain Vigneault knows well, and the defense now has gotten a huge upgrade with the addition of Sami Vatanen last week, this Devils team can now compete. The Rangers and their fans should not take this team lightly.

Like I said, this week the Rangers should make up a lot of ground in the Metro division if they play a smart, and simple game. Drive their speed on all three of these teams, and stay out of the box against them, you’ll be fine.

If the Rangers falter away from that game plan, then this could be a very tough week. Their back is already against the wall, being without Zibanejad. Yet, the Rangers shouldn’t give these teams any other reasons to make it easy for them.

One comment

  • Well so far they’re off to a good start as far as the 3 games you mentioned go. They won the first and against the team I worry about the most out of the 3. But did they really get off to a good start? They did win the game but they could have easily lost it. The Pens hit the post at least 4 times last night and I don’t think the Rangers really had sustained pressure in the Pens zone. They had some time in the O zone but it seemed like they got a shot and that was it or they passed the puck around without ever getting a shot. The thing I notice the most when I look at the two teams is when the Pens grab a hold of a loose puck that may have just took a strange bounce or maybe hit a skate they’re able to make a pass to someone who is already moving to an open area and in good position to make a play. When the rangers get the puck on one of those types of situations they have to think about what they’re gonna do with the puck. So it’s one thing to have control of the puck and be heading up Ice and making good passes and so on. But when they get the puck due to a turnover or some unexpected way I really wish they would be able to have guys in motion going to open areas and the player with the puck knowing what to do more instinctively. When they’re in their own end of the ice and they have to stand there holding the puck and not have anywhere to go with it they usually get hurt. But a lot of knowing where to go with and without the puck also comes from playing with the same guys for a long time

We would love your thoughts! Comment Please!