There was a real possibility the Rangers could’ve entered this holiday break with their season hanging in the balance given how their season started. Instead, the Blueshirts were able to step away from the ice feeling like they deserved the four-day layoff after clawing their way back into the playoff conversation with eight wins in their last 10 games leading up to it.
The pride that permeated from the locker room after their 5-3 win over the Islanders last week was tangible. As a team, they had discussed finishing the final stretch before the break strong — and they did. It may just be the turning point in the season the Rangers will look back on.
“I think we’re just confident,” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “I think we feel good about our team. We feel good about our game, for the most part. Every time we [track] scoring chances, we’re usually ahead of the other team in those games. I think we’ve played really well the last nine or 10 games, whatever it is. Competing and playing well. And we’re getting some puck luck, even though we’re still hitting goal posts. We’re getting some puck luck and we didn’t have that for most of the first 20-25 games of the season. I hate saying that, but that’s what I truly believe.
“Our record should have been better than when it was the first 25, and it wasn’t. We found a way to dig down. When you work hard and compete, good things usually happen and that’s what happened the last 10 games.”
There have already been so many highs and lows through just 35 games, but it’s made for a wild ride. In the spirit of the 12 Days of Christmas, here’s a dozen superlatives that capture the Rangers season so far:
The sheer athleticism and elite skill that was required on K’Andre Miller’s knees-to-skates breakaway goal in Philadelphia on Dec. 17 was outrageous. This was not just the Rangers’ best goal of the season, it very well could be the NHL’s best goal of the season.
Out of the penalty box, Miller chipped the puck off the boards and out of the defensive zone to jump out past the Flyers’ Travis Sanheim. Miller zeroed in on goalie Carter Hart before he was blatantly tripped by Sanheim, which caused the Rangers defensemen to fall to his knees. As the referee’s hand shot up to signal that a penalty shot was in store, Miller had already propped his skates back underneath him, all while keeping the puck on his stick. He finished the breakaway without missing a single stride to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead, which eventually turned into a 6-3 win.
“That one’s in the bag for sure,” Miller said afterward.
With a goalie like Igor Shesterkin, there are too many saves that fit this category. As…
Read More: Breaking down highs and lows of Rangers’ wild season so far 2022-12-26 03:25:00