by Patrick Hoffman on 03/17/11 at 01:36 PM ET
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The Rangers Are A Playoff Team
By Patrick Hoffman
Will Marian Gaborik remain healthy? Who is the real captain of the Blueshirts? Will the young defense hold up?
While not all of these questions are answered, one question that should be answered with a resounding ‘Yes is “Are the Rangers a playoff team this year?”
Yes, the Blueshirts are holding on for dear life in the ever tight Eastern Conference playoff race but despite that, this year’s Rangers’ hockey team will in fact make the playoffs and may be even win a round or two. Here is why:
1) Work Ethic: This is one of the most hard working clubs in the National Hockey League. They block a ton of shots, throw a lot of hits, are competitive in most games and never give up. This is an identity that team head coach John Tortorella helped create and grow throughout the season.
2) Goaltending: The Rangers should consider themselves lucky that they have one of the best netminders in the game in Henrik Lundqvist. The “King” is just one win shy of 30 and assuming he gets it, it will be his sixth 30-win season in his sixth full season in the NHL. Night in and night out, Lundqvist gives his team a chance to win a hockey game and has been the franchises’ backbone since joining the NHL in the 2005-06 season.
3) Surprising Offense: The Blueshirts may struggle to score goals but looking up and down the roster, they have players that can certainly put the puck in the net. Ryan Callahan (21), Brian Boyle (20), Brandon Dubinsky (20) and Marian Gaborik (20) all have 20 or more goals. Players like Derek Stepan (18) and Artem Anisimov (16) have over 15 goals and the likes of Wojtek Wolski (11), Brandon Prust (11) and Erik Christen (11) all have over 10 goals. For the first time in a long time, the Rangers’ have a balanced offense, which should come in handy in the playoffs.
There are still 11 games left to play but come the end of the season, the Blueshirts will find themselves in the postseason with a chance to make some noise.
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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.