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Rangers ready for their toughest test of the season

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers goal celebration 1-3

The Rangers begin a tough stretch tomorrow when they face off against the Anaheim Ducks, one of the strongest teams in the league. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (21-11-4) are playing their best hockey of the season, winning 10 of their last 11 games, outscoring opponents 40-17 in that span, and getting contributions from all over the ice. While they have faced some tough competition, the next seven games will really show how good this Rangers team can be.

Over the next 11 days, the Rangers will play seven games against very high quality opponents, starting with a road trip in California, where they will face the Anaheim Ducks, the Los Angeles Kings, and the San Jose Sharks. All three teams are in a playoff position, and have winning records. The Ducks have the most points in the NHL, and are one of the best teams in the league.

Then the Rangers will head home for a divisional matchup against the Islanders, who are off to a great start, and are tied for first place with the Penguins. This is a crucial game for the Rangers, where they can make up ground on the Islanders, as well as proving that they can beat a potential playoff matchup.

After that, they will face a struggling Bruins team, desperate for wins and always dangerous, as well facing off against a rejuvenated Blue Jackets team and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Despite the fact that they are playing a lot of games in only 12 games, every matchup is against strong teams, most with winning records and in a playoff spot.

If there was ever a time for the Rangers to prove themselves, this is the time to do it. The Blueshirts have a ton of confidence and momentum going for them, with dominating wins over the Florida Panthers and the Sabres, scoring 11 goals while giving up just three in those games.

The Rangers have also been getting contributions from every line, with Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis consistently scoring, as well as getting scoring from players like JT Miller and Kevin Hayes on the bottom two lines.

Martin St. Louis 10-16

Martin St. Louis is one of the Rangers top scorers, with 30 points (12-18-30) in just 36 games. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Ryan McDonagh and Dan Boyle are two of New York’s top defensemen, who are getting back into top form after being sidelined with injury. Boyle has helped the Rangers power play flourish lately, and McDonagh is an excellent defenseman who also adds offense from the Rangers blue line.

Last but not least, Henrik Lundqvist is also in top form, winning eight of his last nine starts, and being the backbone that his team needs.

If the Rangers want to keep winning, they need to keep their game plan the same. After weeks of tweaking the lines, lineup changes, and dealing with injuries, Alain Vigneault and the Rangers have finally found what works. When this team is healthy, they have shown that they are just as good as any other team in the league.

This is the time where the Rangers can prove to the rest of the league that they are a strong team, and that they can beat high caliber opponents. They can also make up some ground in the Metropolitan Division, and really generate momentum in one of the most important stretches of the season.

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Posted on January 7, 2015, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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