New York Rangers: 2014-15 Metropolitan Division Champions

There’s reason for Blueshirts fans to have a little extra pep in their steps this morning, as the Rangers’ 3-2 win over the Wild in Minnesota on Thursday clinched the 2014-15 Metropolitan Division Championship. The team is also now guaranteed home-ice advantage throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs.

But beyond locking down the division against one of the hottest teams in the NHL in Minnesota, the win for the Rangers was also a big statement with a wealth of noteworthy positives for a team whose legitimacy as a serious contender was questioned by Yahoo’s Puck Daddy just a few short days ago.

Return of the King

First and foremost, Henrik Lundqvist was terrific for the second game in row, as he followed up a strong performance in Winnipeg on Tuesday with another standout 26 save effort against the Wild.

After missing nearly two months of the season due to a serious upper body injury, Lundqvist has now won two straight contests after an admittedly rusty return against the Bruins last weekend.

The Rangers neminder is also showing signs of getting back to the level he was at prior to being sidelined, and with home-ice now assured through the first two rounds, “The King” will be spending just a little more time defending his own throne.

Nash Makes it Rain to Dampen Dry Spell

Rick Nash, who had scored just once in his last 11 games, scored a big power play goal during the first period of Thursday’s game which, at the time, put the Rangers ahead 2-0. While not the game-winner, the small miscue on the part of Devan Dubnyk which led to Nash’s goal did turn out to be the difference in an otherwise evenly played contest.


The goal for Nash, which was his 41st of the campaign, tied his single-season career high in goals which he set back in 2003-04 with Columbus.

Miller Time

After taking a brutal cross-check to the back of the head on Tuesday courtesy of Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets, JT Miller responded in fitting fashion on Thursday by netting the game-winning goal over the Wild.

Made possible in large part by a brilliantly patient play by the local boy, Ryan McDonagh, Miller was stationed perfectly to tip in the Captain’s point-shot past Dubnyk to put the Rangers ahead 3-2 late in the third period. As McDonagh corralled the puck at the point, he pump-faked with his head up all he way, hesitated ever so slightly, and sent the puck right onto the tape of Miller who then proceeded to deflect it past Dubnyk and into the net.

Winner, Winner, Miller Dinner!…or something like that…

Noteworthy Notes also Worthy of Notes

    • After missing eight games due to a lower body injury, Martin St. Louis logged 17:52 of ice-time against Minnesota in his return.
    • The Rangers have now set a franchise record with 26 road wins this season. That bettered the franchise mark of 25 road wins, which was set by last year’s Rangers team.

Another Milestone

After being double digits out of the division lead just a few months ago, the Rangers have taken no prisoners since the New Year. The Rangers have found different ways to win games, they’ve made due with a variety of different injuries both up front and on the back end, and they’ve persevered through an injury to Henrik Lundqvist which was supposed to send the team spiraling.

None of those injuries were back breaking, and now here the team is, atop the Metropolitan Division and closing in on the President’s Trophy. The playoffs are still a couple weeks away, but for now, Rangers fans should bask in the regular season glory that is a division championship, because really, it was quite the hill to conquer.