New York Rangers’ Resilience is at its Best This Season

Historically, New York Rangers teams have shown that they were expansive enough to play in the same situations we have seen the 2016-17 Rangers play in – most notably a series of come-from-behind victories, wins after losses and back-to-back games.

The 2016-17 New York Rangers success in these games stems from the mental toughness they have displayed. The Rangers teams of the past have striven to play with a similar drive, however, this years’ team has arguably done it the best.

Veteran leaders have made the team mentality a top priority for all players on the roster. This has had a clear impact not only in the team’s overall success in the first half of the season but also in the Rangers ability to work their way out of tough situations.

 

Come-from-behind wins

Rangers teams in the last half-decade have not just played well in come-from-behind games, it seems they thrive off of it. This season especially, with 11 of their 28 wins coming in games when the where their opponent scores first, the Rangers have shown that they are always a threat.

The Rangers have proven that whether they be one goal back or three goals back – like they were against Columbus last Saturday – they can still manage to walk away with the game.

Regardless of the score, when the Rangers are playing well, they can generate opportunity. They have the ability to force opponents onto their heels due to their size and speed. They work hard to maintain a lead when they have it, and often they work harder to even the score when they are behind. The Rangers continue to prove that they should never be considered finished, no matter the circumstances.

 

Wins After Losses

Perhaps most notable is the Rangers resilience in games after meetings they have lost. The Rangers are 10-3-1 in games after a loss. They have lost back-to-back games only three times this season are the only team in the Metropolitan Division that have yet to lose three games in a row.

The 2016-17 Rangers have been playing with a more noticeable sense of confidence in themselves and their teammates. After losing a game, it can be easy for a team to second-guess themselves. However, the Rangers seem to be able to completely separate themselves from games where their play is uncharacteristic.

Perhaps it is the trust between teammates that drives this. Or perhaps it is the words and mentality of the veteran players and coaching staff coming out of these games. Whatever it is, it’s something that will continue to separate the Rangers from other teams in the NHL.

 

Success in back-to-back games

The Rangers are 7-1-0 in the second game in back-to-back games this season. When compared to the teams that lead the Metropolitan Division (The Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals) no one boasts as good a record.

The Penguins and Blue Jackets have both played nine back-to-back games and are 4-3-2 in these games. The Capitals have played five and are 2-3-0 in those games.

Last night’s 5-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens was the first regulation loss the Rangers have had in the second game of a back-to-back. Having backup goaltender Antti Raanta pulled after the first period of play likely had an impact on the outcome. While Henrik Lundqvist played a solid game in net in this game (on top of starting the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs last night), it was clear he never got completely comfortable.

Despite the one loss, this statistic is one of the Rangers’ strongest and only speaks further to what makes this Rangers team so special. Playing in a league with so many good players, and especially when playing in what could arguably be the most competitive division in the NHL, means that the physical toll on your body is exponential.

The biggest change for the Rangers in this regard this year has been the depth that the team has displayed via the moves in the offseason. Because the Rangers four dangerous lines they can roll out, this means there is no need to always play the top two lines to win games. It means that players can share the burden, and, due to their mentality, always seem to be ready for that second game.

 

Honorable Mentions

On top of all of this, the Rangers have recorded the most road victories of any team in the NHL this season (15-7-0) and the team survived hot start in 2016. Despite losing a number of key players to injury and the fact that the number of goals scored decreased as expected, the Rangers have still managed to maintain solid play on the ice as they push on towards the second half.

 

Final Thoughts

Resilience is something that can be judged as an intangible. However, there is statistical evidence suggests that the Rangers play more successfully in games where there is something standing in their way.

From their statistics in come-from behind games to their success in games after losses and back-to-backs, clearly the Rangers are taking strides to surpass their performance in previous seasons. These statistics speak to their ability to put games behind them, to be strong-willed and to play with a tough mentality and a desire to win every game.

This is what will guide them through the rest of the season, and set them apart at the as the postseason fast approaches.