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New York Rangers Drop from the Top, but How Far Will They Fall?

Eric LaForgeCorrespondent INovember 17, 2009

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 28: Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers is taken down by Tim Jackman #28 of the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on October 28, 2009 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 3-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In what was expected by some, and a complete shock to others, the Rangers climbed to the top of the Eastern Conference at the beginning of the season. But after what was a great start, the Rangers have begun to slow down in their performance.

Since the seven-game winning streak in October, New York has gone 4-7. The question is, why? Fans want to know if this is a slump or if the beginning of the season was a fluke.

Early Schedule

During the early season, the Rangers had a noticeably easier schedule. They still played a few tough teams, but for the most part, they played a lot of weak ones.

During the winning streak, the Rangers played Toronto twice, Anaheim once and Ottawa. All of these teams have losing records, so wins don’t mean a lot. However, they also played Washington and New Jersey, two of the other top teams in the Eastern Conference.

The turning point came in a game against San Jose, when they lost 7-3. It looks like this had a pretty bad effect on the team because they ended up dropping their next two games, as well (to New Jersey and the OT loss to Montreal).

After that three-game losing streak, they went 4-4 with a close 1-0 win over Boston and a 3-1 loss over the very defensive Calgary.

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Inconsistency

The best way to sum up the Rangers this season is inconsistent. At the beginning, they were a great team with a lot of potential. Their players were scoring goals and Lundqvist was stopping everything.

Now, it looks like they're starting to cool off and may be going into a slump. I know that Ranger fans are hoping it’s a slump and that they can start winning more games as the season goes on.

If the Rangers are playing like they will the rest of the year, then they will have a hard time making the playoffs and may not be able to get past the first round if they do.

My personal feeling is that it’s a little bit of both. I think that the beginning of the season was a little bit of a fluke, but their recent play has been a little bit of a slump.

I think that we’ll start to see the Rangers play better as the season rolls on, but not as well as they played at the outset.

I say that because during their seven-game winning streak, they only allowed 12 goals. There was only one game where they allowed more than two. They did that while scoring 30 goals during the same seven games.

November has been, once again, inconsistent for the Rangers. In fact, I’m not even going to compare the goals-for and goals-against with the stats I talked about in the previous paragraph. There are some games where the Rangers score a lot of goals and some where they don’t. There are also games where they let a lot of goals in and others where they don’t.

Take their last game against Ottawa for example , this 2-1 shootout win comes two days after a 5-3 loss to the Thrashers.

Eventually, the team will become more consistent, but we may have to wait until December to see how well they are going to play. By the time mid-season rolls around, we should have a better idea of where the Rangers are going to finish.

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