Talk of the town, not slack of the town as the Rangers take a three-game win streak on the road restoring confidence for the team and their fans. Players have put forth effort and professed their quest to preserve their lead in the Eastern Conference. The drive of the Rangers has not only put the Rangers atop the Eastern Conference, but also may land one Blueshirt on the cover of EA Sports NHL 13.
Skids and slumps seem to be a thing of the past for the Rangers as they head into playoff overdrive. The New York Rangers have now won five of their last six games with the nitty-gritty win over the Winnipeg Jets, 4-2. The Rangers beat the Jets both times Winnipeg visited New York this season. The Rangers are the only Eastern Conference teams the Jets have not scored a win on this season.
Improving to 49-21-7 overall, including 23-11-5 on the road, New York now ranks first in the NHL overall with 105 points. With a motivated playoff run, they have increased their lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference standings by five points, and ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Atlantic Division. Bringing a sigh of relief to fans, the Rangers look to be driving the team to thrive into making it deep into the playoffs.
Ryan Callahan took his work ethic to task at the Jets game registering two points, including a power play goal and a shorthanded assist, four shots on goal, and tied for the game-high with four blocked shots, leading skaters with 27:20 of ice time. He has now tallied 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in his last 20 games. A tenacious turnaround sparked Captain Callahan for the win to pull away from Pittsburgh in the standings. He had to do it. Callahan has a way of jumping the players into their roles to win. Call it inspiration to follow the leader.
Michael Del Zotto has been a defensive gift for everyone in New York. A shorthanded goal and an assist in the Jets game highlight his improvement over the past few weeks. He’s hasn’t been his normal scoring self, and the points had not represented his capabilities. He also has a career-high 38 points, and could hit 40 before year’s end. He has now registered three points (one goal, two assists) in the last five games.
Brad Richards had a great game at Winnipeg tallying one power play assist to extend his assist streak to three games, and tied for the game-high with five shots on goal, and won a game-high, 14-17 (82%) faceoffs in 19:54 of ice time. No word on who he’s dating, but he loves New York and it shows.
Henrik Lundqvist has been steady and miraculous in net. He made 22 saves on the Jets to improve to 37-16-5 overall, and 17-8-3 on the road. Not only has he been the rock on the team for years, but King Henry can finally feel he has a court of players, not jesters, who have carried more of the load.
The celebrity status of Brad Richards and Henrik Lundqvist spotlights the Rangers to a more personal and technical crowd. Both Brad Richards and Henrik Liundqvist have been chosen as candidates for the next cover athlete for EA Sports NH 13. The development behind NHL 13 has paired EA Sports and the National Hockey League to host a contest to make the decision. Voting starts April 11th and there will be a total of three voting periods that will run through June 4th. Cast your vote at NHL.com.
Heidi has been a Rangers fan since the Gretzky years. While focusing on The Blue Line and hockey’s stalwart defenders, Heidi also connects with the human side of hockey. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or at her blog Don’t Cross My Blue Line.