Things are going a little too well in New York to start the 2016-17 season.
People have started writing negative articles pointing out the smallest flaws in the New York Rangers organization such as the lack of playing time for Adam Clendening, or the fact that they have Zucc, Buch, and now Boo.
The Rangers have started this season 13-4-0 with 26 points and believe it or not, last year the Rangers got off to an even better start by going 13-2-2 and having 28 points.
As we all know, last season was one that Rangers fans would like to forget, but this season, with a lot of new faces, it’s promising to see all of this success so early. By far, the statistic that has stood out to the entire National Hockey League (NHL) is the Rangers +34 goal differential. This shows how well they are playing, not only scoring a ridiculous amount of goals, but also keeping the puck out of the net, whether it’s Henrik Lundqvist in goal or Antti Raanta, who is 4-0 with a save percentage of almost 94%.
The Rangers had their heat check early this season as they set out to Western Canada to face the struggling Calgary Flames, the first place Edmonton Oilers and the anemic Vancouver Canucks. While those teams don’t seem too daunting, it’s never easy to sweep a West Coast road trip and it can really show the good teams from the great teams. Plus, right before the trip, the Rangers dropped an embarrassing loss to those same Canucks at home giving up a season high five goals.
In game one of a back to back, the Rangers took on the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome, and completely dominated every facet of the game, jumping out scoring two first period goals, one by the scorching hot Michael Grabner, who is tied for second in scoring with Sidney Crosby, Mark Scheifele and David Pastrnak in the NHL with 10 goals. Another two goal effort in the second period by the rookies Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich sealed the game for the Rangers. A late Calgary power-play goal spoiled Lundqvist’s second shutout of the season.
Game two of the back-to-back was the toughest one of the trip as the Rangers visited the brand new Rogers Place, which opened in September of this year. With a second matchup with Connor McDavid looming, head coach Alain Vigneault decided to stay away from Lundqvist after his performance in Calgary and started Antti Raanta who stood on his head like he has in all five games he has played in. An outstanding 38 save effort, as well as another two goals by Michael Grabner, gave the Rangers their second win against the Oilers this season, as well as the second win of the road trip.
Game three in Vancouver was by far the most entertaining of the three games as the Rangers were absolutely dominated in the first period by the Sedin twins and company who were able to get 17 shots though to “The King” who really let his name show as he stopped all 17 of them. When things are going well, it doesn’t matter how poorly you are playing, eventually you’re going to get a break, and that’s exactly what happened as Mats Zuccarello found J.T Miller streaking to the net and put his bid in for the best deflection of the year as he put it between the legs and beat Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom five hole.
After a two goal second period with goals by Kevin Hayes, who has had just as good of a scoring touch as Grabner, and power play specialist Brandon Pirri, the Rangers took a 3-1 lead into the third period as well as making Papa John’s bankrupt for the 14th time this season (for those who don’t know the Papa John’s runs a promo where they give 50% off your order the day after the Rangers score three or more goals, which they’ve done 14 out of 17 times this season). The Rangers responded to a late Canucks second period goal, ending Lundqvist’s bid for shutout with four goals in the third, including Miller and Hayes’s second of the night.
After going 0-2-1 on the Western Canada road trip in the 2015-16 season it’s a refresher to see the Rangers respond to adversity well. Things are certainly looking interesting on Broadway.