This season left a bad taste in the mouth, to say the least. The Rangers exited the Garden with a double overtime disappointment and exited the playoffs with an uninspired effort in DC. So rather than concentrate on those two unsatisfactory affairs, how about we look back at five great games that give hope for the team going forward? It was actually tough picking just five as I found seven great candidates so those are the honourable mentions. All - save one of the HMs - were against teams that finished higher than the Rangers in the standings, showing that the Rangers could play at an elite level. If only they could maintain that level over an entire 98 game season (82 + 16) ...
Honourable Mentions: January 9th, 2-1 win over the Blues and Sunday, March 20th, 5-2 win over the Penguins
5 - November 1st, 3-2 win over the Blackhawks: After a mediocre October the Rangers hosted the Hawks at the Garden in what turned out to be a defining game for the team. The Stanley Cup champs - even without Byfuglien and the other guys lost over the summer - were a far more skilled team but the Blueshirts battled and clawed their way to the victory.
4 - March 12th, 3-2 shootout win over the Sharks: After dominating the Flyers 7-0 at the Garden, the Rangers hit the road and ran right into Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan and the rest of the Ducks. They lost that one 5-2 and could easily have collapsed against the Sharks but they battened down the hatches and sank the Sharks in a shootout. It kicked off a 6-0-1 streak that actually put them into sixth place in the East.
3 - December 12th, 7-0 win over the Capitals: This was the delightful domination that made it's way onto HBO as part of 24/7. Sure the Capitals were stumbling their way into winter but a seven spot on the eventual first place team was just sweet.
2 - November 15th, 3-2 overtime win over the Penguins: The Rangers entered Consol without a regulation win in their previous 15, 15! games in Pittsburgh. And this looked certain to become number 16 as the Pens struck for two goals in 38 seconds to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. They had the officials helping them all night long and the go-ahead goal was accompanied by a penalty to Hank. So what did the Rangers do? They rallied for their Swedish star, scored shorthanded to force overtime and won in the extra period.
1 - January 13th, 1-0 win over Vancouver: This was the best 60 minutes of hockey that the Rangers played all season. Prior to the game Torts told the media “we’re not going to win a hockey game 1-0 tonight” and yet they did. And - even more amazingly - they did it without Ryan Callahan. The Canucks had earned at least one point in 17 straight games (14-0-3) and they were stymied by a blue wall of battlers. The Rangers played at the same level of the eventual President's Trophy winners and even survived an unfortunate five-on-three on their way to victory. Who says that you have to have scoring to have a helluva hockey game? This one was a sheer delight and certainly shows that the Rangers have it in them to run with the best.