by Patrick Hoffman on 04/10/09 at 11:50 AM ET
Last night, the New York Rangers clinched a playoff spot after beating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 at Madison Square Garden. It was a playoff atmosphere that the Blueshirts took advantage of in the first period and rode it all the way to the final buzzer.
Fans can now rest easily knowing that their favorite team has made the playoffs and that a few more games will be played. However, the main question now is how far will they go?
It’s tough to answer that question. On paper, this looks like a team that should score a bunch of goals. In reality, however, the team is second to last in goals scored despite having players such as Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Markus Naslund, Nikolai Zherdev, Nik Antropov, and Sean Avery.
Secondly, the team’s power play is dreadful as it is currently 29th out of 30 NHL teams. They sometimes have trouble hitting the net, they pass it too much, they are always looking for the perfect play, they sometimes stand still, etc. Special teams are huge in the playoffs and if the team’s power play can’t get it done, it could end up being a quick first round.
However, this team does have great penalty killing, goaltending and defense, which can carry teams deep into the postseason. If the team can bring it all together, they may find success and win a few rounds.
What are your predictions?
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.