By Brian Monzo
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It has been a roller coaster ride for Rangers fans this season. Half the time, the Rangers look like a fierce, tough, puck moving team. The rest of the time, they look like they try hard but don't have the ability to win games. What it essentially boils down to is that the Rangers are a typical NHL team. You can break it down every which way. But the NHL, perhaps due to the salary cap, is a league in which any team can lose six in a row, then win eight in a row.
All you have to do is look within the Rangers division to break this down easily. The Devils were horrible the few months of the season. They changed their coach, traded Jamie Langenbrunner, their captain, and since January 6th have gone 20-2-2, instantly putting them back into the playoff picture. The Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers are in the midst of a four game losing streak. Going out West, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks were on the outside of the playoff picture. They have strung together eight straight wins and are now fourth in the West.
The point is, watching the Rangers game in and game out, there are times where they look brutal. Or they can beat the Flyers 7-0, as they did Sunday. I know the Ranger fan is very much an 'instant reactor.' I get more Tweets (BMonzoNHL660) about how the Rangers need to fire John Tortorella, sit Henrik Lundqvist (who has a GAA under 2.30 and 9 shutouts) and that Brandon Dubinsky is overrated. While I love the fan feedback on 'the Twit,' sometimes I really scratch my head about immediate reaction.
Am I saying the Rangers are a Cup contending? I don't know. I know they are a tough team, that never gets blown out and leaves it all on the ice.
Say what you want about the Rangers current situation in the standings (currently 35-29-4 and 7th in the East), but they are the hardest working team in the NHL. That said, I believe they will be the hardest team to eliminate in a seven game series. Teams can outscore them, but not too many teams, if any, can outwork them. That is exactly why Tortorella should not be fired. He has gotten Ryan Callahan to become a true leader on the team, has gotten Marc Staal and Dan Girardi to be one of the top shutdown defensive pairs in the NHL and has gotten 20 goals from Brian Boyle. He has gotten Dubinsky to play in all situations, stick up for every teammate and be viewed as a forward that every team wishes they had.
Now on a two game winning streak, the Rangers head out west to play the Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks. This has been the time of the season when they have played their best hockey ...down the stretch. With 14 games to go, 28 points available, the Rangers are going to need at least 20 to make the playoffs, if not more.
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- Rangers Shutout Flyers 7-0 (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Keefe To The City: Chat With Brian Monzo (newyork.cbslocal.com)
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