3 reasons why the NY Rangers are still the Eastern Conference’s hottest team as NHL playoff race intensifies

Despite last night’s loss, the NY Rangers still won a pair of games over the weekend, and they may be the East’s hottest team in the NHL playoff race.

New York Islanders v New York Rangers
New York Islanders v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Monster special teams performances are vital during the playoff race

To put yourself in the best chance to win this time of the year and in those close playoff games, the man advantage and penalty kill better be top-notch. Fortunately for the Rangers, they have excelled on special teams this season. Their power play is sixth in the league, scoring goals in just over one in four chances they had on the man advantage, or 25.35 percent of the time, to be exact. 

As for New York’s penalty kill, it’s even better, operating at an incredible 83.42 percent, which ranks fourth. But how well has this team fared on special teams in the post-All-Star Break time frame we have been talking about?

The man advantage hasn’t been as effective, but it’s still converting 21.0 percent of the time, which still ranks in the middle of the league. The PK has been even better, ranking second in the league next to only the Carolina Hurricanes at 85.2 percent.

If the power play unit becomes as efficient as it was before the All-Star Break, the Rangers just became that much tougher to stop. It’s clear that they are playing a great game in the offensive zone at even strength, judging from their 55 goals since February 5th, good for 2.89 per game. Get the man advantage back to where it was, and few, if any teams in the NHL will stop the Rangers. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)