Rangers Stumble But Still Rule Local Teams
It was an odd week around the NHL, and our local teams of interest were not immune. The Rangers, however, continue to lead them all. @JoeBianchino
New York Rangers: After kicking off their week of play (Wed-Wed) with two losses, the Rangers found themselves in the midst of their first three game losing streak since the start of the season. The team, which has been dominant throughout the year, was turning the puck over in the defensive zone, taking bad penalties, and getting punished for it. The Blue Shirts rallied in a big way, however, showing the type of resolve that has made them what they are. They scored a come back win in overtime against the Islanders, and thoroughly outplayed the Hurricanes, Tuesday night, in a 4-2 win. In those two games, Brad Richards came alive and, paired with Marion Gaborik and Carl Hagelin, the Rangers may have found a line with some serious offensive potency. The three dominated Tuesday night. Still, the Rangers have slipped in the standings and find themselves only six points ahead of Pittsburgh - a team they'll host on Thursday in what is, to this date, the biggest game of the year...Oh yeah, and Sidney Crosby will be back.
Boston Bruins: A long, sad stretch of games continued for the Bruins this week. They finished just 1-3 - having been outscored 18-7 - and dropped to 8-12-1 since February first. With the slide continuing, the Bruins find themselves just five points clear of eighth place. Either the Bruins find a way to turn it around in their three games this week, or...well:
New Jersey Devils: The mid season surge of the Devils has, most certainly, continued into the seasons' latter stages. The Devils went 3-1 this week, sweeping a home and home with the Islanders before splitting a pair of games with the Flyers. If the Devils' top lines continue to hone their scoring touch, the rest of the league should be on ready alert.
Buffalo Sabres: With a 3-1 record this week - all three wins came in extra time - the Sabres continued to sleuth their way into playoff contention. Once left for dead, Western New York's favorite sons have clawed their way up the standings and sit only four points out of a playoff spot. Like the Devils, if the Sabres can make their way into the playoffs, with Miller slowly finding his game, they could be very dangerous. They'll play three times this week, with only two games coming against those currently in the playoff picture.
New York Islanders: If the Bruins are in danger of becoming Goose from Top Gun, then the Islanders are most certainly Cougar - they got in over their head and turned in their wings early on, and we never heard from them again. They lost all four games they played this week, have won only three of their last twelve, and sit only two points North of last place in their conference...and no one's seemed to notice.