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The Caldron

The Rangers’ Resurgence

Photo courtesy of Hudson Reporter.

January of the 2023-24 season was a bit of a struggle for the Rangers. Between January 2nd through the 13th the team went 1-5, including a dismal 6-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Through the month of January the team struggled, dropping out of the contender conversation in the NHL. However, at the beginning of February, the team flipped a leaf, and won an astounding 10 out of their 11 games. Including a win against the Ottawa Senators on 1/27, the Rangers won 10 consecutive games, tying the franchise record (Records.NHL.com) . This historic streak came to a close on 2/25 when the team lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. As of March 4th, the Rangers are 40-18-4, and sit on top of the highly competitive Metropolitan division leaving the question: are they contenders?


As of writing, the Rangers are currently 3rd in the highly competitive Eastern Conference, trailing the Florida Panthers by 4 points and the Boston Bruins by 2 points. In the NHL as a whole the Rangers are 4th, with the Vancouver Canucks having 1 more point than the Rangers. According to ESPN, the Rangers are the 2nd best team in the league behind Florida (ESPN). By all means statistically, the Rangers are among the top teams in the league; however, this does not always translate to postseason success. An example of this was in the 2022-23 season, where the Bruins set a record by winning 65 regular season games only to lose Game 7 against the Panthers. The Rangers suffered a disappointing end to their season last year when they also suffered a first round exit at the hands of the New Jersey Devils in Game 7. This defeat led to the firing of head coach Gerard Gallant. So what makes the team different this year?  


Fan of the team and JCHS Junior Sophia Basile was interviewed for her perspective. Sophia follows the Rangers’ every game and knows the sport of hockey very well. When asked about the possibility of the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup this year, she stated, “I think the NY Rangers have the potential to win the Stanley Cup, or at least go further in the playoffs compared to last year.” Her explanation for this predicted success involved the turnover on the roster and within the organization: “This year’s combination of new players and seasoned veterans, plus a new coach (Peter Laviolette) has been producing good results.” 


The consensus from most fans of the team has been the same, as it appears that Laviolette has worked wonders for the squad. He could be the man that leads the Rangers to play-off glory for the first time since 1994. When Sophia was asked about what makes the team better than last year she responded, “…the Rangers have not one but two strong goalies, returning All Star Igor Shesterkin and new addition Jonathan Quick.” Shesterkin has been labeled the franchise goaltender after the departure of Rangers legend Henrik Lundqvist. However, he has struggled this season, and injuries have not helped his case. In light of this, 38 year old veteran Jonathan Quick has excelled between the pipes and recently earned a 1 year extension with the team.


The Rangers are in the home stretch of the season, with less than 20 games remaining in the season. If they continue their hot streak into the playoffs, it seems like it would take a lot to take them down, but anything can happen in a 7 game series.

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