Having extended their winning streak to six games, the Rangers are brimming with confidence.
Are the Rangers a playoff-caliber team? Certainly. Are they Stanley Cup contenders? It sure isn’t looking that way.
The Rangers are battered and bruised on the blue line, and if the other areas of strength on this team do not step up, the Blueshirts will slip in the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference to very precipitous depths.
The injury-ravaged Rangers will be without inspirational captain and all-situation defenseman Ryan McDonagh for the majority of a packed November schedule.
The Islanders and Rangers — and their fans — have been at each other’s throats for years. The rivalry lost some luster over the last decade, but it now appears to be back and healthier than ever.
Last season, the Rangers surprised many by reaching their first Stanley Cup Final since 1994. The 2014-15 Rangers have more of a youthful look after a number of familiar faces moved on to new teams.
“We all kind of knew Mac’s a real young leader on this team,” Girardi said. “He’s only going to get better. He was the definite choice to lead us as captain and lead us in the right direction.”
Fellow defensemen Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, and forwards Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis, were chosen as alternate captains.
The sting of the double-overtime loss in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals is mostly gone. However, don’t think for a second that it is forgotten by the New York Rangers.
If the Rangers are to return to the Stanley Cup Final, head coach Alain Vigneault will have to work some more magic.
Following Thursday’s informal skate, Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh reiterated the belief that he’s ready to take on a key leadership role ahead of the upcoming season.
New York is the biggest sports market in the United States, and it’s a magnet for superstars. The Rangers, Islanders and Devils boast a plethora of talented players.
McDonagh appears to be a captain in waiting. He has become a more vocal leader with age and experience.
Jonathan Quick looked right at home on the road inside MSG. One more night like this, and the Connecticut native will be able to skate with the Cup under the bright lights of Broadway.
The coach had formed a few impressions after Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, and they made him even more wary of the Los Angeles Kings.