As the shortened 48-game season comes to an abrupt halt, we saw many storylines unfold throughout the season like; the Blackhawks tremendous start to the season, Rick Nash‘s impact on the Rangers and the Kings’ attempting to live up to heightened expectations this season. Although the season was abbreviated, it felt like it took forever in the minds of many Rangers fans. Before the season began many experts predicted that this particular team would easily compete for the top seed in the Eastern conference once again and even be a Stanley Cup contender. After a shaky start, the Rangers found themselves in a pretty deep hole, but with the help of their very skillful general manager Glen Sather, the Rangers were able to turn things around quickly and finished with the #6 seed in the conference setting up a dinner date with the Washington Capitals for the fourth time in five seasons.
Over the summer Broadway welcomed its newest star, and that was Rick Nash. Everybody knew what he could do : he handles the puck beautifully, has a tremendous shot, and can beat you with some dirty dangles. He finished with an even 21 goals and 21 assists in 44 games played. He certainly lived up to his expectations, but now the only questions that remains is how will he compete in the postseason? Many forget that while locked away in Columbus Nash has only played in 4 playoff games in his career. Once he takes the Garden ice, he will be overwhelmed with emotions, and not to mention, the raucous New York intensity. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to playing on such a big stage. The spotlight will be set on him.
That brings us to reigning Vezina trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist, fittingly known as “The King.” Following a stellar 39 win regular season , he brought the Rangers on a magic carpet ride to the Eastern Conference final falling to the rival New Jersey Devils in 6 games. As the 2013 playoffs roll around Hank has his eyes set on one thing, that shiny silver beacon of greatness known as the Stanley Cup. He has been with the Rangers since 2005-06, and he has yet to capture a championship. But every year his goal is the same : to one day lift the trophy that has avoided him for far too long. If the Rangers want to get close to the championship this year, Lundqvist is going to have to strap on his pads and steal games for the Rangers.
What This All Means Now
To open up the postseason the Rangers will be facing off against a formidable opponent, the Washington Capitals. Filled with firepower up front, the Caps pose an interesting threat to the Rangers. In the Eastern Conference semi-final last season, the Blueshirts knocked out the Caps in 7, sending Alex Ovechkin to the golf course. This season, the Capitals will be looking for vengeance. A series victory for the Rangers is not going to be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. But the Rangers have shown that they can handle themselves in pressure situations and they will be a tough out against any team in a 7 game series.
After all the ups and downs they went through this season perhaps all of that can be thrown out the window as each team starts at 0-0 and all 16 teams have a shot at lifting the Cup. Will it be the Rangers? Possibly. But with multiple teams fighting each other for the same outcome, it can sometimes turn into a bloodbath. Players will do anything to get what they wish. The road to the Cup will not be an easy one but if there is one thing to be said about this team it’s that they are battle tested and have plenty of experience : It takes blood, sweat, and tears to win the Stanley Cup : And it looks like the Broadway Blueshirts are willing to do just about anything to claim their rightful place on top of the National Hockey League mountain.
I would like to thank Fansided and Matt Josephs for bringing me on board to talk about my true passion, the New York Rangers. I appreciate the opportunity and welcome any comments below.