What is drastically different about this Rangers team from years past is a confidence throughout the lineup that allows them to respond to difficulties.
It has shown itself in the ability to go 59 games this season without once losing three straight games in rule, with just a streak of three straight losses dating back to November when they were still picking up points in consecutive overtime games against the Canucks and Oilers.
After two of the most disheartening losses of the season in Minnesota and St. Louis that left them embarrassingly overwhelmed, the Rangers reacted against the Stars on Saturday night with a 7:4 win that could have turned out differently if the club had given up after another weak first half of the season.
Looking back on last season, Rangers tended to collapse under such circumstances. The Blueshirts are now at an impressive 14-6-2 after a regular or overtime loss this season. During the truncated 2020-21 campaign, they posted a 9-12-2 record after any type of loss.
“I don’t know if we needed the message from our coach,” said striker Dryden Hunt after Saturday’s win, referring to head coach Gerard Gallant’s disappointment with the team’s most recent game.
“I think the only great thing about this team is that it comes from within. We are very proud of this space. It was tough losing those two games – not just losing, but losing the way we lost. We just didn’t have any reaction, so it was nice to play the way we did.”
Between Gallant’s no-things-mind mentality and the six reserve captains’ efforts to stay ahead of the group, Rangers have had short-term memories all season. It’s a trait Rangers must maintain as they push for an optimal playoff position on the track and in the postseason.
The surprising decision to appoint six alternates in place of a captain – Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Strome – has acknowledged the identity Rangers are trying to establish. It seems to have worked wonders for team dynamics.
The “one for all, all for one” mindset has almost always kept Rangers on the same page.
“Something we’ve been good at all year is when a team has a good boost, we can nip that in the bud and have our own boost and we haven’t had that in the last few games so we have to we’ll come back to that,” said top winger Chris Kreider, who has had an “A” stitched onto his jersey for the past four seasons. “It was a staple for us. I think that level of serenity, knowing that the other teams have good players, they’re going to make games, things are going to happen. But kind of water off the back of the duck instead of allowing that and letting frustration creep into our game.
“Another team has a good stretch or a good push, we’ve been able to refocus over the year so we need to be able to come back to that.”
Zibanejad, who was an assistant captain for as long as Kreider, noted that Rangers need to keep their game simple when they feel things aren’t going their way. Playing together and helping each other, he said, will keep Rangers from trying too much.
“It starts with me,” Kreider said. “It starts with all of our veterans.”
Rangers sent Tim Gettinger back to AHL Hartford on Sunday.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/13/rangers-keep-putting-newfound-resiliency-on-display/ Rangers keep showing newfound resilience