The playoff race is on. With the deadline long gone, the race to the finish is drawing closer. There are a handful of teams well out of the race, but the ones in it are fighting for every inch. One division that has a tight race is the Metropolitan Division. In addition, one team to keep an eye out for is the Rangers. The current New York Rangers homestand is showing why they are a team that needs to be taken seriously.
New York Rangers Homestand
Prior to the New York Rangers homestand, the team was winning. However, it was not some of their best hockey. They were chasing the game and not generating enough chances. You knew that given the star power on this club, another gear was to be hit. With them on home ice, the cooking has gone well for the New York Rangers.
How They Have Performed
In comparison to right before the New York Rangers homestand, the team has performed better. The sample size is a bit smaller, but the results are there. Here is how the team has looked cooking on home ice:
Corsi For: 47.38%
XGoals For%: 51.33%
High Danger Corsi For: 49-45 in chances and 52.13%
Expected goal differential: 9.58-9.09
Goals Scored: 18
Goals Allowed: 5
High Danger Goals: 11
Safe to say; the Rangers brought their A-game. This homestand got kicked off with one of the best periods the team has played since the trade deadline. Against division rival Washington Capitals, this was their first period:
66.67 Corsi For
19-9 shot differential
15-2 scoring chances
XGoals For: 1.54-0.41
Just pure domination and coming out of the gate strong.
In comparison, the Rangers are possessing the puck at the same rate they were. However, the team is cashing in at a higher expected rate. Goals are coming from everywhere and all lines are building chemistry. They’ve controlled the high-danger areas, which is great given the absence of Ryan Lindgren. There is plenty to be happy about if you are the New York Rangers. The biggest kicker is defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins two games in a row and doing it in a convincing fashion.
Welcome To The Show On Broadway
If you came for a show on Broadway, the Rangers signed, sealed, and delivered one. The stars were shining brightly on this homestand. In the latest piece, the big guns we’re producing, but not scoring at a rate you’d like to see. That has changed however with the top six dominating. Here is what they have done during the stretch:
Mika Zibanejad: 5 goals, 4 assists
Chris Kreider: 4 goals
Artemi Panarin: 3 goals, 2 assists
Patrick Kane: 1 goal, 3 assists
Vladimir Tarasenko: 1 goal, 3 assists
Vincent Trocheck: 7 assists
The Rangers big guns are heating up and it was a matter of time. Granted, even though there are familiar faces, there are new ones as well. Patrick Kane had said this about the teams recent play, “We keep talking about playing the right way in here, and if we do that, it seems like we have a lot of talent, a lot of ability to be able to make the plays when we get those chances,” Patrick Kane said. “So, just stick with it. I mean, we’re building chemistry. I know a lot of guys have been here a long time, but there are still some new players here that are getting accustomed to everything, so it seems like we’re just building every day, every game.”
Kane is not wrong and finally, everything seems to be clicking. Every line is rolling and the newcomers are catching fire. Patience is a virtue and production is slowly coming along. In addition, the wins are piling up.
K'Andre Miller (2G-2A) is the first defenseman in Rangers history to record four points in a single period. #NYR
— NYR Stats & Info (@NYRStatsInfo) March 19, 2023
In addition, Filip Chytil snapped a 17-game goal drought. K’Andre Miller became the first Rangers Defencemen in Rangers history to have four points in one period.
The Prince To The Throne
During this recent stretch, Igor Shesterkin has started every game for the club. The heir to the throne in New York has been spectacular. He has won every start, which includes a shutout against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In addition, in the two wins against the Penguins, he sported a combined 3.25 goals saved above expected.
Shesterkin was sharp in the high-danger area. Only allowing two goals and sporting a .923 high-danger save percentage. His overall save percentage (.942) was great as well. To go with rock-solid production has been rock-solid goaltending.
The Road Ahead
Things are looking great for the New York Rangers. They are a lock to make the playoffs and a lock for a top-three division slot. With the New Jersey Devils falling this week, catching them is not without question. It has been a great for the club and this is great momentum heading toward the playoffs. The Show On Broadway continues with its final act against the Carolina Hurricanes in a home-and-home series.
Main Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports