Rangers The Best of a Bad Week for Local NHLers
While the Bruins, Devils, Islanders, and Sabres all had tough weeks, the Rangers finished the stretch (since we spoke last Wednesday) above .500, maintaining their nine point lead over the Eastern Conference and domination of the local NHL teams. @JoeBianchino
New York Rangers: Monday's trade deadline was supposed to be the day that the Rangers acquired what many believed to be the final piece to a Stanley Cup-worthy squad. That deadline passed in silence, however, as Ranger GM Glen Sather chose to dance with the dates that brung him. Those dates earned him a 2-1 record in his last three, with wins over the Sabres and Devils following a shootout loss to the Islanders. Those dates have also earned him top billing in the Eastern Conference, a lead of nine points over second place. They'll try to continue this impressive campaign with four games over the next six days, two against chief rivals the Bruins and Devils.
Boston Bruins: Things went less well for the Bruins, who once again finished the week bemoaning a record no better than .500. The four game stretch started well, with a win over the improved Blues, but a shoot out loss to the Sabres preceded the splitting of a home in home with the Senators, keeping the Bruins at arm's length of first place. Boston remains one of the NHL's best teams, but they went just 5-7-1 in February and their inconsistency has to way heavily on the club. Two big games - home to the Devils and on the road against the Rangers - loom as they look to turn around the rocky week.
New Jersey Devils: If the Bruins' week was rocky, then the Devils week can only be qualified as such:
The once hottest team in the league was cooled to a frozen-in-carbonite-esque chill this week as they lost all three of the games they played, including an ugly 13-shot effort against the Rangers. Redemption sits just a few games away, however, as two of their upcoming four games are against the conference leading Rangers and Bruins.
Buffalo Sabres: A light week for the Sabres saw the team involved in two overtime games. A win over the Burins and a loss to the Rangers helped them pull three points out of a possible four, but still saw them slip another point in the race for the conference's last playoff spot. They'll need to start stringing together some big weeks if they want to make this season anything more than a crushing disappointment, starting with this week's four-game swing through the West coast.
New York Islanders: ...And then the Islanders. Though they stunned the league with an upset of the Rangers on Friday, they lost successive games to the Senators and Capitals and look poised, once again, to let the season slip by with all but their beat writers having never realized that there still exists a team in Long Island. True, they're only a point behind the Sabres in the standings, but they moved to within shouting distance of last place in the conference and, unlike the Sabres, haven't shown a hint of life all year. The bleak picture is given even less hope when a check of the schedule shows upcoming games against the Flyers, Bruins and Devils. Good luck.