by Patrick Hoffman on 03/29/11 at 11:45 AM ET
Earlier today, our fearless leader pointed out an article that shows that despite their win-loss record, the New York Rangers have been a more than solid hockey club this season.
The author, Michael Salfino, could not be more right and to prove his point, he showed that the Blueshirts have the fourth best goal differential in the league. Despite having a sniper who is underachieving somewhat in Marian Gaborik, the Rangers have shown that they can put the puck in the net this season.
For starters, the team has five players who have 20 goals or more. Ryan Callahan (23), Brandon Dubinsky (22), Marian Gaborik (22), Brian Boyle (21) and rookie Derek Stepan have all hit the 20-goal plateau this season. Artem Anisimov could be next to hit the 20-goal mark as he has 18 goals on the season.
For a team that used to struggle mightily to score goals, this should come as welcome news as the team continues to make the push towards clinching a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. This season, the scoring has been balanced and more consistent than past seasons.
With that said, Salfino points out that the Rangers’ had similar statistics in the 2005-06 season:
Unfortunately, the 2005-06 Rangers, who were bounced in the first round, had a similar profile—they ranked six spots better in goal differential than points. However, their collapse the final two weeks of the season foreshadowed the first-round sweep at the hands of the Devils. Plus goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was just a rookie that season. Now, he’s the focal point of a team that seems to have the necessary postseason ingredients—toughness (2nd in the NHL in hits) and a goalie capable of stealing a game or even a whole series.
Hopefully, this year’s Rangers’ club will have a different fate.
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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.