The New York Rangers sit at the top of the NHL standings, at least for a day. How good are they? Skeptics still claim the team has loopholes that will be revealed as the season continues. They say Rangers have a losing record against playoff teams. They indicate a much lower goal difference than other top teams. They say the Rangers didn’t play Hurricanes, Penguins, Blues, Ducks or Wild, and they played Capitals, Islands, Flyers, and Bruins only once.
OK. The Tampa Bay Lightning came into his series this weekend with the best record in the NHL and Edmonton has been at the helm of the Pacific Division for most of the season. Three games. Three wins. In the wake of the narrow losses of Florida and Vegas, skeptics must reassess. But we know they won’t.
The Oilers was a show, the only game in the NHL. Anyone who watches hockey has watched this game. Do you know what we’re talking about this morning? Focus on the Oilers’ team problems and their inept targeting. The second topic was whether the Rangers were really that good. However, their concession comes grudgingly.
Ranger fans have a legitimate question. What will it take before NHL Cognocenti takes Blueshirts seriously?
Why the negative?
When fans ask that question, the answer lies in four games this season. The Rangers were blown up twice by the Calgary Flames and lost badly to the Colorado Avalanche twice as well. Every team in the NHL suffers heavy losses, it’s a fact of life, but for some reason, these four games remain in the memory of hockey connoisseurs.
This is just an exercise, but take these four games and what do we have?
Rangers are currently fourth in the National Hockey League with an average goalscorer of 2.47, allowing for 84 goals in 34 games. They allowed 23 goals in those four matches. Take them out and the numbers will be 61 goals in 30 games averaging 2.03 goals per game. That would be good for number one in the NHL.
Rangers are fifth overall in penalty kicks with a success rate of 84.9% allowing for 15 goals while 99 goals are shorted. They allowed four powerful goals in 16 short cuts in those games against Calgary and Colorado. Remove these numbers and you will be allowed 11 goals in 83 power games with a success rate of 86.7%. This would be the third best player in the NHL.
Offensively, Rangers score 2.91 goals per game, in the middle of the NHL group and 17th overall. That’s 99 goals in 34 games. In those four matches, they scored six goals. He knocked them out and scored 93 goals in 30 games, an improvement to 3.10 goals per game that saw them reach 14th place.
Rangers Power Play scores 25% of the time (25-100), and is the seventh best player in the league. Against Calgary and Colorado, they went one for 12 in those four games. Take that and they are 24 versus 88 or 27.3%, good for a fourth overall.
How about that vaunted target differential number? Rangers +16 this season, with 11 teams better than that. The goal difference in those four matches was -17 as they edged out 23-6. Take that difference and their goal difference will be +33, and only Carolina will be the best at +40.
Effect on Chesterkin
If you think these numbers are interesting, take the two losses to Calgary from Igor Shesterkin’s season and his numbers are outrageous. Shesterkin is currently second in the NHL with 0.936 keeping and fifth with 2.09 goal-to-average (over 20 games played).
In these two matches, he allowed 11 goals and made 63 exports in 74 shots. Take those two games and his save percentage jumps to 0.947, by far the best in the NHL. His goals against average would be 1.71.
Yes, we know
Well, well we know. You cannot take losses out of the record. In the real world, you have to take the good with the bad.
To be honest, we’re done with Colorado and Calgary this season and we don’t even have to think about them again unless the Rangers meet them in the Stanley Cup Final.
Sure, every NHL team has a stink every now and then, and if you take those bad games out of the mix, every team’s numbers will improve. Tampa conceded nine goals to Montreal. The Panthers conceded 15 goals in two games with Ottawa and the Devils.
But it’s definitely a fun exercise, right? It’s worth taking a look at this special season and knowing that if you cancel out those four distractions, the season will be even more special. By the way, get out of those four games and the record will be 22-4-4 for Rangers. They will also be 7-4-2 against the teams currently in the playoffs, with a 37-31 lead over them.
And those numbers should be good enough to convince skeptics that Rangers are real.