As of early Monday evening, all three local NHL teams were in the playoff picture, making for what could be an interesting hockey winter in the metropolitan area. But the Thanksgiving Rule that most teams in playoff position by the final Thursday in November are going to make it to the postseason might not apply this year. Before play Monday, only the Sabres were more than 10 points out of a spot in the East. So in this predicament, let us examine how each team got here and whether they might sustain or drop off. Rangers Second wild card, 13-9-2 What’s worked? During the 1-5-2 getaway, nothing worked. But since then, goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been sharp, the power play has been mostly humming and the defensive structure has drastically improved. Mika Zibanejad (11 goals, 22 points) has taken the role as a top center, Michael Grabner is having more early-season puck luck (10 goals) and Kevin Shattenkirk (five goals, 18 points) finally has settled in. Will it last? The Rangers’ depth up-front is a big question, especially at center. They have some young pivots in the pipeline (Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil) who might not be ready for prime time just yet. They still heavily rely on Lundqvist, and if the defense comes in waves, they might not have the offensive firepower to win shootouts consistently.
The missing pieces that could keep Rangers from playoffs
New York Post | Nov 28