After the much anticipated All-Star Break, the NHL is ready to get back to business. As we enter into the second half of the season, the playoff picture looks a little clearer, and the New York Rangers are right in the thick of things. After a slow start, they have certainly picked it up, winning sixteen of their last nineteen games and sit only two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan division.
This team is certainly proving why they were the Eastern Conference Champions last year and are undoubtedly one of the hottest teams in the league right now. With only Rick Nash (who is tied for the league-lead in goals) being selected to the All Star Game, it gave a chance for the rest of the team, especially goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to rest up for the second half.
This rest will prove to be vitally important for Lundqvist, who has played phenomenal as of late. This season, he has twenty three wins and five shutouts. As always, he is the backbone to this team and was important during their Cup run last season. So far, he has not disappointed this season. He knows he must be on top of his game every night he plays to give his team a chance to win.
This team has the potential to make it back to the Finals come spring-time. Even after losing key players from their memorable season, General Manager Glen Sather was able to bring in additions to fill the gaps and put a winning team on the ice.
So now with the the Break behind them, the Rangers look to get back to work and seek revenge on their divisional rivals tonight, the New York Islanders. The Islanders are 2-0 against the Rangers this season, with their last win being a 3-0 shutout at Madison Square Garden.
At times of need, this team has found ways to win games. The team has definitely come around since another suspicious start to the season, and know how tight the standings are. As a unit, they play hard, back check when needed, forecheck, and obviously score. Alain Vigneault and his Rangers will come out of this break a well rested team and will be all business from here on out.
They want to make it back to the Final, and the way they are playing right now, with Nash finally finding his scoring touch as a Ranger and the team coming together as a whole, they will make that climb once again to fight for the Stanley Cup.