The 2023-24 NHL regular season is well underway and it has brought lots to talk about, including for the New York Rangers.
Just under a fifth of the way through, a few teams have already separated themselves from the pack and one of those teams is the Rangers.
With a 10-2-1 record, they have been elite, which is no surprise considering how stacked they are.
|To win Stanley Cup||+850|
|To win Eastern Conference||+450|
|To win Metropolitan Division||+140|
The Rangers kicked off their season emphatically ass the road team, dominating the Buffalo Sabres with a 5-1 win.
Then two days later, they lost 5-3 to a much weaker Columbus Blue Jackets team and, after four games, they had a 2-2-0 record.
With 78 games remaining, it was by no means time to panic, but they knew it was a pace they could not continue.
The next five games were all on the road against Western Conference teams. The first three were against the Seattle Kraken, Calgary Flames, and Edmonton Oilers, where they went 3-0-0, outscoring their opponents by a tally of 10-2.
They finished the road trip with two more wins in closer contests, beating both the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets in overtime. At this point, they were returning home with a 7-2-0 record and the group was bursting with confidence.
This confidence carried into an easier schedule, where three of their next four games were at home.
In these games, they took down a Metropolitan Division opponent in the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1, and beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-3. In two matchups against the Minnesota Wild, they went 1-0-1.
With a 10-2-1 record, this team is firing on all cylinders. They are currently clicking at the second-best power play rate of 35.7% and are a top-10 penalty killing team at 86.4%.
This run also comes with the third best goals against average, as they allow just 2.08 goals against per game. This is in part due to goaltender Igor Shesterkin, who hasn’t even hit his full stride yet and is currently +700 to win the Vezina Trophy for top netminder.
While they are only scoring at the 13th best rate, this team does not need to win by running up the scoreboard. They have been thriving by completely shutting down teams and not giving them much breathing room.
What has been impressive is that when their shutdown efforts have not been working, they have been able to drive up their offense.
They have had many contributors to this success. Leading the way has been superstar winger Artemi Panarin, with 8 goals and 22 points in just 13 games played, putting him third in the league in points, tied for fourth in assists, and on a 13-game point streak.
Helping him along the way have been Chris Kreider, who is leading the team with 9 goals, along with Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trochek with 10 points each. They have also been getting help from players including Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil.
On defense, their backhorse Adam Fox has played 10 games while gathering 11 points, but he is now on long term injury reserve, which will keep him out for at least 10 games.
However, just three games into his injury, the Rangers have been going fine at 2-0-1.
Captain Jacob Trouba, along with 23-year-old K’Andre Miller and offensively minded Erik Gustafsson will have to continue to hold the back end until their main weapon returns.