The Rangers have not been the same team since they laid an egg in their fourth game of the season against the Predators, which resulted in a 4-1 loss and their most lopsided defeat of the season.
It hasn’t been a matter of effort since then.
Sure, the Blueshirts have taken a period off every couple of games and, in turn, let their opponents back into games.
Even that, however, hasn’t been enough to knock the Rangers off their current nine-game point streak.
“It’s hard to paint it with one brush,” head coach Peter Laviolette said of his team’s success since the Nashville game. “I think every game is a little bit different, so it’s hard to say, ‘Well, we did this well.’ There’s been games where I think we’re a little bit loose defensively and yet we’re still able to get a point, in Minnesota, or we’re able to score a couple of goals on the power play [against Detroit]. I do think that when you stay tight defensively, like we were for two periods [Thursday night against the Wild], when you stay tight defensively and defend hard, I think you got a chance to win hockey games. I think that’s been good.
“Power play has been excellent. That’s really helped, I think, inside of that streak. To me, the five-on-five is starting to connect a little bit in general, as well. For me, it’s never one thing. If you go 10-0, it’s never probably just one thing. It’s probably a combination of a bunch of different things that you can have an objective on what you think is necessary to be successful.
“If you can check off eight out of those 10 objectives and you can do it consistently, you’re probably going to find yourself winning hockey games.”
Since Oct. 19, the Rangers have outscored their opponents 32-16.
The power play has scored goals in seven of the Rangers’ last eight games and 11 of their first 13 games.
The penalty kill has been perfect in three straight contests and four of their last five.
Top players such as Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider are delivering on a consistent basis.
Panarin has tied the longest point streak of his career at 13 games, during which he has racked up seven goals and 14 assists.
The streak is tied for the fifth-longest to open a season in the NHL since 1993-94.
The Russian wing is also second in franchise history, behind Rod Gilbert, for the longest point streak to start a season.
If Laviolette were to paint the Rangers’ success with one brush, it would be that it’s been a team effort.
The Rangers assigned Louis Domingue, Dylan Garand and Connor Mackey back to AHL Hartford on Friday before recalling just Domingue.
That could mean that one of either Igor Shesterkin (minor soreness) or Jonathan Quick (upper-body injury) will be available for Sunday’s matchup with the Blue Jackets.
Henrik Lundqvist, the longtime Rangers goaltender who will enter the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, received some hardware Friday at the ring ceremony.
“This is kind of the last hurrah,” Lundqvist said as the four-day celebration of the Class of 2023 got underway in Toronto. “Extremely proud and grateful.”
— with AP