Reasons to believe they are a playoff team

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New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo (77) and New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40)

The New York Rangers are on a roll that has gotten them to within striking distance of a playoff spot.  Are they overachieving or are they for real?   There are reasons to think they are a contender.

The New York Rangers have won four out of five games. They have gotten points in 13 of their last 18 games and they have won 11 games outright.  The Rangers have 29 points in 25 games and are three points behind Pittsburgh, occupying the last wild card spot and the Rangers have two games in hand.  If this keeps up, it will be a dogfight the rest of the season.

The Rangers have won 11 games in regulation, the new tiebreaker introduced this season by the NHL, replacing regulation and overtime wins. Only Boston with 15 and Washington with 12 have more than the Blueshirts.   Not only that, the Rangers have played 25 games and have games in hand on most of their playoff contenders (except the Islanders and Tampa).

The quality of their wins has been impressive. They’ve beaten Carolina, Nashville and Montreal on the road.  They took the Bruins to overtime in Boston. At home, they have defeated Washington, Tampa and Pittsburgh. True, they’ve suffered some bad losses to teams they should beat (Ottawa and New Jersey), but on the whole the Rangers have been competitive especially after they got past that crazy October schedule.

There are a few other indications that the Rangers have what it takes.  They need to beat Eastern Conference teams and so far this season they are 5-5-2 against Atlantic Division teams and 5-2-0 against Metropolitan Division teams.

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