Blueshirts Rolling in the Right Direction
Fast forward a month later and the Blueshirts are back to .500 with an 8-8 record. With Thursday night's 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Rangers have won five of their last six games and are starting to play the game the right way on a consistent basis.
Part of playing the game the right way is being able to put the puck in the net. The team has done just that and in their last four games, has scored 15 goals.
After slowing a bit in the last few weeks, Brad Richards is slowly but surely finding his game again. He currently leads the team with 13 points (five goals and eight assists) and his showing that when put the right linemates, he can be more than a solid offensive player.
Speaking of heating up, forward Derek Stepan has found his game in a big way after not having scored a goal in the first month of the season. Last Saturday night in a 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, Stepan picked-up a hat trick and is now one point behind Richards (four goals and eight assists).
The club's offense has also been sparked by the return of Carl Hagelin. Hagelin brings a ton of speed, a nose for the net, and a lot of offensive creativity, all of which has led him to produce as he has seven points (four goals and three assists) in six games.
The Rangers have been even better on the other side of the puck. The team has allowed two goals or less in nine consecutive games and has also allowed just 14 goals in that span.
With their strong defensive play, the Rangers are now 16th in the league in goals allowed. Their play without the puck has helped them to stand teams up in the neutral zone, create turnovers while also helping to lead to more offensive chances.
With the great play on defense comes the excellent goaltending that the team has got from both Henrik Lundqvist and back-up Cam Talbot. After getting off to a slow start, Lundqvist has found his game and is now 5-6 with a 2.42 goals against average, a .919 save percentage and two shutouts.
In his first NHL season, Talbot has been impressive between the pipes. The 26-year-old netminder is 3-1 with a 1.97 GAA and a .933 save percentage while showing his team that there is no drop off in goal when Lundqvist is not between the pipes for this hockey club.
With the Rangers back to playing their game, there is no doubt that they should be considered contenders in the Eastern Conference moving forward and a team that is going to be tough to beat on a nightly basis.