New York Rangers with true litmus test tonight against the Penguins

Alexandar Georgiev #40 of the New York Rangers (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Alexandar Georgiev #40 of the New York Rangers (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

The New York Rangers take on the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at the Garden, and it will be another real test to show where the team is in its development.

The New York Rangers are in full rebuild mode.  So much so that as of Saturday night’s telecast, they were the youngest team in the NHL. with an average age of just over 26 years old.

With that, the team has had rough patches. They are clearly not ready to be playoff contenders yet. Over the last ten games, the Rangers have won exactly twice. There is work to be done here.

But Saturday night they did top a playoff bound Maple Leaf team. Alexandar Georgiev has played like a man possessed against Toronto as of late, stopping 99 shots in his last two starts against them.

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Could Georgiev be the heir apparent to Henrik Lundqvist? It’s certainly possible.

It’s hard not to take notice when a rebuilding team is able to upset a far-better team like the Leafs.

Now, the Rangers have a real test up ahead of them. Tonight, they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Currently the Pens are tied with the Islanders in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 93 points.

They are three points behind the Washington Capitals for the division lead.

Let’s put things into perspective. Mika Zibanejad leads the Rangers with 28 goals and 67 points.

Compare that to the Penguins. Sidney Crosby leads with 33 goals and 93 points. Three other players have a minimum of 75 points, Phil Kessel, Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin.

So our best play would come in fifth on the Penguins. That is quite the scoring disparity if you hadn’t noticed. This team has given the Rangers fits when they weren’t rebuilding so it will be that much tougher now that they are.

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The Rangers have been able to stay close in a lot of games as of late. They lead the NHL in one-goal games.

They did it against Toronto and won the game. If they can stay with Pittsburgh tonight, it really is indicative of the fact that the team is buying into David Quinn’s system.

And that’s a good sign for the future.