New York Rangers: 4 Reasons They Could Be Next Team Planning a Big Apple Parade
The New York Rangers are still playing with much confidence after the All-Star break. The Rangers currently sit atop the Eastern Conference with 77 points, seven points ahead of the second place Boston Bruins.
Part of the Original Six, the New York Rangers are one of the storied franchises in the National Hockey League. With talents such as Wayne Gretzky, Brian Leetch and Mark Messier gracing the franchise's presence for a part of their career, the Rangers have a winning reputation.
However, with their last Stanley Cup victory coming in 1994 over the Vancouver Canucks, the Rangers are looking to end their drought this year.
With scorers left and right and a stout defense, including one of the leagues best goaltenders, here is list of why the Rangers could be the next New York team to have a championship parade.
Henrik Lundqvist has been one of the leagues top goalies in his career and for this season. Lundqvist is boasting a career-low 1.81 goals per game average.
Lundqvist is also generating a career best save percentage with .939, which is top in the league. Lundqvist has a record of 26 wins and 11 losses this season.
In his 26 wins this season, he held 23 of his opponents to two or less goals scored, as well as having six shutouts.
If Lundqvist keeps his career-best play going throughout the season, the Rangers will be a clear favorite in representing the East in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Marian Gaborik has been an offensive threat all season long for the Rangers.
Gaborik is currently tied for fifth place in the league in scoring with 27 goals in 54 appearances. He sits atop the Rangers in scoring and points, collecting 48 points thus far.
The balanced play of Gaborik's scoring and assists, where he has 21 on the season, has helped the Rangers offense erupt in multiple games this season.
The Rangers success has much to do with Gaborik's play. This season, Gaborik has produced 36 points in the Rangers victories, scoring 23 goals and contributing with 13 assists.
In the Rangers losses, Gaborik has only put four shots in the back of the net and dished out eight assists.
With 28 games remaining in the regular season, the New York Rangers have a favorable schedule to help seal up the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.
Thirteen of their remaining 28 games, almost half of their contests, are against current non-playoff caliber teams.
With a seven point lead in the Eastern Conference standings, the Rangers have a good shot at finishing the season with the top spot.
This would entail having home ice advantage throughout the playoffs, where they would be playing with an extra presence on the ice—the rowdy Madison Square Garden fans.
Defense wins championships and the Rangers host one of the top in the league.
When it comes to goals allowed, the Rangers are second in the league, allowing two per contest. As for penalty kill percentage, the Rangers rank fifth, at 87.1 percent.
Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi lead defensemen in minutes played. Del Zotto leads defensemen with 29 points, 22 of those points being assists.
McDonagh and Girardi have 20 and 19 points respectively, with each contributing 15 assists.
With a fierce defense who generates countless checks, holds opponents to an average of two goals per game and contributes to the offense with numerous assists, the Rangers look to be for real heading into the back end of the season.
Having arguably the best goalie in the league also helps.