March 1, 2012

Rangers keep Rollin

The trade deadline passed, without any major deals for the Rangers. They went out on Monday night and shutdown a very tough Devil team, behind Henrik Lundqvist’s 7th shutout and 30th win of the season.  Tonight they went out and beat a surging Carolina Hurricane team, without Captain Ryan Callahan with Brandon Dubinsky benched after taking a bad penalty early in the game, and with Michael Del Zotto leaving the game early after reinjuring his hip. A game like tonight when Marty Biron, who has struggled lately, played a solid game this team showed once again, why they didn’t need to make a big trade. Why Glen Sather didn’t dismantle the roster, and showed why the fans of this team have a reason to believe. They stay the course, just like the coach has taught them, just like the GM showed by not making any trades.

This has become the true identity of this team, they are tough they are gritty and they are blue collar, just like many New Yorkers. Just when you think there could be a letdown, this team steps up, whether its Brandon Prust, or Brian Boyle or new comer John Scott who was picked up at the deadline, someone steps up and helps this team win. As it has been the case all season, this was another team win, a win where not just one player stepped up, but there were contributions up and down the line up. The GAS line of Anisimov, Gaborik and Stepan played big and they needed to, Marc Staal stepped up and played what could have been his best game of the season. Now could that be because he was playing against his brother Eric, for the first time since he gave Marc a concussion, or if it is because he starting to return to form is still to be determined, but he has been playing better as of late. The fact that Staal has been playing better is going to be a big key during this final stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs, especially if players continue to get dinged up. The continued growth of Ryan McDonagh has also started to become evident with each passing game, as he continues to play very well against the opposing team’s top players, another reason why Sather didn’t make the Nash deal because Columbus was asking for the young stud defenseman.

This team is showing that they belong in the top spot in the East and it doesn’t look like they are ready to give it up anytime soon. Tomorrow they play the Tampa Bay before a big home game on Sunday against the Boston Bruins, who are still chasing the Rangers in the East. The Rangers have a tough month ahead but this will be the final hurdle of the regular season, before the playoffs, so it will be a very good test before the playoffs and the drive for the Stanly Cup.  If you don’t think this team has a great chance to take home Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time since 1994, watch this team play and I’m sure you will become a believer, I’m sure you will see what all the true blue Rangers fans see and love about their New York Rangers.

By Joe Clewell

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