Happy Thanksgiving all!
While America is enjoying football on this day of giving thanks — let’s change the pace and switch gears into focusing on the NHL.
Specifically one of the league’s best teams, the New York Rangers.
By following the holiday’s tradition, here are five things the Rangers and their fans are thankful for in 2015-2016.
5.) Antti Raanta, Goaltender
The Broadway Blueshirts were spoiled last season with the emergence of (then) backup goalie Cam Talbot. Since Talbot’s departure (Traded to Edmonton Oilers) the Rangers have found another netminder to be The King’s righthand man in Antti Raanta. The Finnish goalie-product has done more than what he’s been asked to so far; by posting a 4-0 record, 1.20 goals-against-average (GAA) and a .955 save-percentage. Raanta has proven he’s not just your average backup, and can contribute towards the Rangers on-going success.
4.) Oscar Lindberg, Center
Oscar Lindberg proved he belonged in New York’s lineup from the get-go this season. The rookie adds a different dynamic to the center position for the Rangers with his natural and offensive skill assets. The Swede has seven goals and seven assists so far, and has played in all of the Rangers 22 games. A majority of the focus for the Blueshirts’ future has been on players such as Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider; yet Lindberg may turn out to be the better player and an all-star forward for the Rangers in due time.
3.) Rick Nash Is Scoring Again
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) November 24, 2015
A week ago left winger Rick Nash had a mere two goals all season. In the Rangers last three games Nash has found the back of the net five times. The Canadian Olympic Gold Medal winner recorded a hat trick vs. the Florida Panthers on November 21, where each of Nash’s goals came in different fashion. But, most importantly Nash is scoring “goal scorer’s goals,” with his pure shot that Rangers fans have all grown to admire over the last three seasons.
2.) The Overall Defensive Play
The Rangers’ team effort defensively has been, well, the best in the NHL thus far. New York has the fewest goals-allowed (42) in the league, their penalty kill percentage is ranked third (88.5%) and the team’s backbone, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, is leading all netminders with his 1.94 GAA. New York’s solid blue line play has been led by team captain Ryan McDonagh, who has turned into a jack-of-all-trades for the Blueshirts. Keep in mind, there’s the old saying of, “Defense wins championships…”
1.) There’s Hope For The Garden Faithful
Yes, heading into the season the Rangers’ lineup was that of a playoff contenders. But, after two straight-seasons of at least making the Eastern Conference Finals, and appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014 — no NHL team has played in more hockey games than the Rangers have over the last two seasons. Yet, New York has proven that aspect will not slow them down, and that they are still one of the league’s best — giving the Garden Faithful hope that another Stanley Cup Finals appearance could be on the horizon.