The defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks came into Madison Square Garden and got knocked around by a team that has a few rookies and a ton of speed with mediocre defense and that is the New York Rangers.
Yes, its early in the season, but the Rangers are for the first time are a team that no one has high expectations for, at least the “experts” say so. Many have picked the Rangers to not make the playoffs and you can understand why. Their defense is questionable and they have new faces trying to mesh in with the “veteran” core.
The Blueshirts however, are out to prove the nay-sayers wrong. Many teams when trying to build a championship caliber team try to look at the teams that previously won. Last year, the Pittsburgh Penguins knew they needed more speed in order to compete and win. They added the speed and won. Now the Rangers are trying to do that.
After the home opener win against the New York Islanders, Rangers forward Derek Stepan was asked about if this is what the Rangers have to do in order to win, copy what the Penguins did a year ago. Stepan’s answer was a no brainer of yes. He also went on to explain that, “speed has been preached all through the preseason and going into the season. To have four line where speed can hurt on each will definitely be the key to success”.
The Rangers on Monday night put up a seven spot on the board against those Sharks who played in the Stanley Cup finals back in June. They did it with speed and creating space. The Rangers had seven goals all by different players (the first time since 2010 – 8 different players vs. TB).
From the looks of it, this Rangers team is out to prove they can be near the top and can be a very dangerous team down the stretch. We’re only three games into the season but the Rangers have become a fun team to watch already. More so than the team from last year. Last year wasn’t so fun due in part to the inconsistent play for much of the season yet they still put up 101 points.
Something about this team (SPEED) puts them as a team to one of the surprises of the 2016-2017 season. The rookies placed in the lineup don’t seem at all phased by the bright lights of Broadway and all of the new guys seem to have gelled in the same way.
Speed is what is going to make the Rangers a top contender, now only if they can fix their defense a smidge.
The Rangers have posted a 180-3-11 record in their last 194 regular season games when leading entering the third period, dating back to Feb. 6, 2010 vs. New Jersey.
Since the start of last season, the Rangers have earned at least one point in each of their eight home games against Pacific Division opponents (7-0-1 record over the span).
Chris Kreider registered two points (one goal, one assist) and recorded four shots on goal. Kreider has tallied at least one goal and one assist in each of the Rangers’ first three games in 2016-17. He is the first Ranger who has registered six points in the first three games of a season since Brian Leetch in 1992-93, and he is the first Rangers forward who has tallied at least six points in the first three contests of a season since Bernie Nicholls and Darren Turcotte in 1990-91.