With the Rangers in the midst of a 9-3-1 stretch, it’s easy to feel good about things as a Blueshirt fan. But legit Stanley Cup contender? What crazy Ranger fan would think that? (via New York Post)…
“It would start in goal, and Henrik [Lundqvist] is playing great right now. They have a lot of balance in their attack right now, and their defense is as stable as there is in the league, so I give them a great chance (of winning the Stanley Cup).” – Mark Messier
In all seriousness. Why not the Rangers? They’re 29-14-3 since December 22nd, have arguably the best goaltender in the league, their defense (as long as McDonagh’s healthy) will keep them in every game and the ability to roll four lines makes them a very dangerous team.
The new playoff format also favors the Rangers as the only chance of meeting the Bruins (who I consider the one team in the East the Rangers can’t beat) is in the Conference Finals. Honestly, do you not think the Rangers could beat Columbus or the Flyers in the first round? Nash should provide the emotional edge in a match-up against the Blue Jackets, while Lundqvist, as is always the case, would prove to be the difference against the Flyers. Next up would likely be the injury riddled Penguins, who the Rangers (as they’ve proved this season) can absolutely skate with. Plus, Fleury is a huge question mark in goal as “The Flower” will likely wilt under the bright lights of Broadway.
After that, the Rangers would have to hope the Bruins are either picked off by Tampa or Montreal or limp into the Conference Finals after what should be two tough, physical series to get out of the Atlantic Division bracket.
In my opinion, the Western Conference is vastly superior, so the team who survives that gauntlet will likely be bruised, battered and beaten by the time the Stanley Cup Finals faceoff in June, giving any club from the East a real fighting chance.
I’m telling you guys, the road map is there for our Blueshirts. Now they just have to “grab it.” What do you think? Do I sound just as crazy as Sandy Alderson talking up a 90-win season for the Mets or could the Rangers actually give us a magical ride this Spring? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments section.
And while it’s nice that Messier thinks the Rangers have a chance at the Stanley Cup, it’s too bad he didn’t guarantee it, because as this commercial proves, he has a knack for guaranteeing things these days…