New York Rangers: Six straight wins propels Rangers to first place

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Kevin Shattenkirk
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Kevin Shattenkirk /

The New York Rangers have turned the tables on their 2017-18 campaign in the snap of a finger as they have jumped from last to first in a six-game hot streak.

Just like that, the New York Rangers are tied for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Rangers have notched six straight wins under their belts since October 31, five of which inside Madison Square Garden.

A season that had people giving up on the team and calling for people’s jobs two weeks ago is now a completely different narrative. The season is six months long. The team needed to gel and find themselves, and it didn’t take much time.

The New York Rangers are sporting an undefeated November record of 5-0-0 after a 4-7-2 October start. A lot of the wins the Rangers have played from behind as well and overcame their opponent in the third period.

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We saw examples of this in two four-goal third period games against the Golden Knights and Blue Jackets that resulted in 6-4 and 5-3 wins respectively and five total power play goals.

A big part of the recent success is a power play that is on fire. The Rangers officially sit at fourth place in the NHL in power play percentage with 25.8%.

The Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers along with the NHL’s current best Tampa Bay Lightning join the Golden Knights and Blue Jackets amongst the teams that have fallen victim to the Rangers six-game hot streak.

The offense has been firing on all cylinders as the Rangers have been throwing more pucks on net which has led to more scoring opportunities and therefore more goals. They sit at third in the league in goals for with 60.

All around, everyone on the lineup has been doing their part and it has resulted in a much more solid hockey team. There is no question that Mika Zibanejad can handle the No. 1 center role as he has been the most valuable offensive asset on the Rangers.

Zibanejad leads the team with 18 points as him and the under-rated Pavel Buchnevich have been building great chemistry. Buchnevich sits at third on the team with 15 points and has scored clutch goals in each of the last three games.

Both players have been on the top power play unit along with the team’s second highest point scorer, Kevin Shattenkirk.

So far, he has been everything we wished he could be. He is on a seven game point-streak and is second in the league in points among defenseman with 17.

We have seen great chemistry with him and his partner in rising star, Brady Skjei, a player Shattenkirk mentioned he was excited to play with when he came to the Rangers.

Skjei has shown amazing vision of the ice as he has been able to set up a handful of beautiful passing plays.

Who could also forget that Henrik Lundqvist is making all of this possible silencing all of the short tolerance New York fans and media about his age.

He shaving down his goals against average while juicing up his save percentage each game he plays and is now tied for eighth in the league with 8 wins on the season.

Rick Nash, who is on a contract year and was on the verge of being traded, has elevated his game scoring three goals in the past two games.

Nash’s efforts have been there all season but he just couldn’t finish and bury the puck. He seems to be gaining the momentum the Rangers need from him.

The win streak came at an auspicious time as one more loss would have probably resulted in a coaching change and a big trade.

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The Rangers were shopping for the recently traded Matt Duchene, but the Colorado Avalanche refused to make any deal that did not involve Skjei, an asset the Rangers could not sacrifice.

All in all, everything is much sharper in all three zones of the ice and the team is making smarter plays and executing crisp tape to tape passing. The Rangers are back to a winning record sitting at 9-7-2 and all is right in the world again.

If October was the sound check, the Rangers have tuned their instruments and are jammin’ out together in November.

UPDATE: After the writing of this post, teams pulled ahead of the Rangers into first place.