Since Halloween, the Rangers have been, hands down, one of the premier teams in the league. After presumably saving Alain Vigneault’s job with a win over Las Vegas to close October, the Blueshirts have donned a new costume – contender.
In the 22 games since the Vegas tilt, the Rangers have the third-highest point total in the league (33) and trail Nashville and Washington by just one point. For a team with this much talent, a sustained run of success shouldn’t be a surprise, but, for a team with an identity tied to explosive goal scoring, the fact that the defense is driving the winning should be.
Scoring at a 3.5 goals per game clip over that 22-game span means the offense is clicking, but over the same, the Rangers are surrendering just 2.41 goals against per game, pulling them into 10th, at 2.77, overall. While much of that can be attributed to strong goaltending as Henrik Lundqvist has been strong with a heavy workload and Ondrej Pavelec has put in a few stellar performances, it’s the penalty kill that has set the Rangers apart.