Recent Slide Nothing New For Rangers
Things are looking a bit grim on Manhattan for the Rangers and their faithful fans. Going 6 games without a win will do that. The recent streak of subpar play has threatened the Blue Shirts tenuous hold on a playoff berth. Unfortunately, this type of losing streak shouldn't be surprising to those of us who follow the Rangers. Then again, maybe it isn't even as unfortunate as it seems.
The Rangers have earned a measly 1 out of a possible 12 points in their last 6 contests. Five of those 6 games ended in 1 goal defeats. The sixth game was a 2 - 0 shutout loss to Montreal with the Canadiens potting an empty net goal. In essence, the Rangers have had a chance to win each of the last 6 only to come up a little short. To me, that's better than getting blown out of the water.
It's also nothing strange for the Rangers to struggle in January/February. In each of the last 5 seasons, the Blue Shirts have experienced at least one 4 game winless streak in those months. Here's a breakdown of some of those lengthy January/February swoons.
1/11/2011 to 2/11/2011: 4 - 9 - 1 record with a 6 game winless streak
1/12/2010 to 2/10/2010: 4 - 10 - 1 record with a 5 game winless streak
1/20/2009 to 2/26/2009: 2 - 9 - 3 record with a 5 game winless streak
1/2/2008 to 1/20/2008: 2 - 6 - 2 record with a 5 game winless streak
1/9/2007 to 2/6/2007: 3 - 7 - 1 record with a 4 game winless streak
The above totals reflect 64 games and 128 possible points. The Rangers only earned 38 of those points; or 29.7% during those losing stretches. Heck, this year's slide seems somewhat tame by comparison as the club has pocketed 32.1% of the points possible over their last 14 contests.
I don't want to ignore the 2005-2006 New York Rangers either. While they didn't compile as nasty a string as those listed above, they did manage to endure a 6 game winless spell in March.
Basically, since the lockout, the Rangers have annually had a long spell of struggles at some point in the season. The good news is that in 4 of the 5 completed sessions the club has rebounded to qualify for the playoffs. Will the same happen this year? I believe so.
I don't think you'll find anyone who thinks the Rangers won't start winning sooner or later. Prior to this 6 game losing streak, the team had yet to experience a winless stretch longer than 3 contests this season. Conversely the team has yet to record anything longer than a 3 game winning streak. Now that they've popped the cherry on the winless side of the ledger it's time to do the same on the winning side of it.
While some Rangers fans might be considering jumping ship and giving up on the season, I am going to stay the course. Yes, losses like the one last night to Atlanta are frustrating to watch but it becomes easier when I remind myself we've gotten to where we are primarily on the strength of our home grown youth. This encourages me to believe that regardless of where we end up in the final standings this year, this team is on the right track and a Stanley Cup championship may indeed be in our near future.
As far as the playoffs this year are concerned? I think history is on our side and we'll get in. We've been part of nearly identical stories in each of the previous 5 years and 4 times we righted the ship and made it to the postseason. This year should turn out the same way.