New York Rangers: A Team to Be Taken Seriously in the NHL Eastern Conference

Scott AbusoCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2012

Captain Ryan Callahan works the puck behind the net
Captain Ryan Callahan works the puck behind the netChris Trotman/Getty Images

Currently, the New York Rangers sit atop the NHL Eastern Conference, shoulder-to-shoulder with the mighty Boston Bruins.

Even as an avid Rangers fan, I can honestly say I wasn't expecting the Broadway Blueshirts to be playing so well at this point in the season.

Analyzing the stats, it's not difficult to see why these two teams top the Eastern Conference. 

The Bruins receive tremendous support for their accomplishments, while the Rangers' success seems to be met with pessimism and doubt. 

As far as I'm concerned, the Rangers are just as good as the Bruins, and they deserve the same respect from the league.

On Jan. 21, 2012, the New York Rangers faced the Boston Bruins in an epic battle that ended with the Rangers sealing the 3-2 victory in overtime.  It was a hard-fought game, and even in the final seconds, I legitimately couldn't determine which team would emerge victorious.

That being said, many people seem to brush the victory off as a hoax, a "lucky afternoon."

I disagree.

Sure, the Bruins may have a GA/GS differential of 71, compared to the Rangers 33, but the stats are close to even after that. 

The Bruins and Rangers have the same number of points, as the Bruins are 31-13-2 in relation to the Rangers' 30-12-4. 

To put it simply, the Bruins may score more goals than the Rangers, but the Rangers still find ways to win. 

Yes, it's nice to win games 9-0, but a victory is a victory.

Sure, I am biased towards the Rangers, but it's a bit ridiculous to say that a team in first place 46 games into the season doesn't deserve to be there.

As the defending champs, I know the Bruins are "for real" this season.

The New York Rangers, the current beneficiaries of an intense "grind-it-out", dedicated style of play, are just as "for real."