Predicting Which Metropolitan Division Teams Will Give New York Rangers Problems
The new Metropolitan Division is pretty stacked. Along with the New York Rangers, the new members of this division are:
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- New Jersey Devils
- New York Islanders
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Washington Capitals
Including the Rangers, four teams made the postseason from this division. The Blue Jackets just missed out.
In fact, other than the Hurricanes and Devils, all teams are capable of making the playoffs.
Which teams will give the Rangers the most problems? Read on to find out.
The Rangers and Caps had a hard-fought, seven-game series in the first round of the postseason.
They have played in the postseason in the last two years, with the Rangers winning both series.
Now, they'll continue this rivalry in the new division.
The Caps improved this offseason by signing Mikhail Grabovski. While Grabovski had a down year with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he has scored 29 goals in the past and could be re-invigorated playing with Alex Ovechkin.
Braden Holtby is a really talented goaltender who could end up starting for the Canadians in Sochi. Holtby posted a 2.58 goals-against average last season, and that number should only get better.
The Rangers often played down to their competition last season, beating up on the weaker teams and struggling against the better ones. By facing the Caps more, the Rangers could find it hard to win games. The Caps will be better this season, and the Rangers will suffer because of it.
The Flyers missed the postseason last year, but they had a really good offseason.
They signed Vincent Lecavalier and Mark Streit, two veterans who should really improve the power play.
In addition, Ray Emery could represent a real goaltending solution. Emery was fantastic last season, posting a sterling 1.94 goals-against average with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Add that to the existing core of Claude Giroux, Kimmo Timonen and Jakub Voracek, and the Flyers could make some big noise this season.
The two teams are hated rivals, and the intensity of this year's battles should be great. The Rangers will have a tough time with the Flyers this season, and the games should all be nail-biters.
The Penguins bring back pretty much the same team that dominated the regular season last year.
And while they did flop against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals, there's no reason to believe that the Penguins won't be one of the best teams again this season.
The Penguins brought back Rob Scuderi to shore up the blue line, which is essential given the problems that Marc-Andre Fleury had in the postseason.
Yes, Fleury bombed, but he did post a 2.39 goals-against average in the regular season. It is entirely possible that the postseason was a fluke.
If it was, then the Penguins will be a force to be reckoned with. The Penguins were 4-1 against the Rangers last season, and the Rangers will struggle against them once again. The Penguins are simply too talented, and too deep for the Rangers to compete with.