As the Rangers embark on a crucial three-game trip to California, the jockeying for playoff positions in the Eastern Conference continues. It would certainly not be surprising if none of the postseason matchups are set come the final weekend of the regular season.
The Blueshirts hope to duplicate their success from last season’s excursion to the western United States, when they swept the Ducks, Kings and Sharks on one trip for the first time in franchise history.
While the perception of outsiders may be that the Rangers have struggled to score goals this season – in part due to the departures of Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin (who combined to score 38 goals in 2014-15) – the numbers prove otherwise.
The Rangers have scored only 10 fewer goals to this point than over the first 69 games of last season’s Presidents’ Trophy campaign.
Five Rangers have set new career-highs for goals in one season with 13 games remaining:
Derick Brassard has scored 25 goals, becoming the first Blueshirts center to reach that mark since Brad Richards in 2011-12. Brassard’s previous career-high: 19 in 80 games last season.
Should Brassard score five more goals in the final 13 games, he would become only the fifth Ranger to reach the 30-goal mark since the 2005-06 season, joining Jaromir Jagr (54, 30), Marian Gaborik (42, 41), Rick Nash (42) and Petr Prucha (30).
Mats Zuccarello is at 22 goals heading into tonight’s game in Anaheim; three more than his previous high of 19 in 2013-14.
J.T. Miller, in his first full season in the NHL, has scored 18 goals, including nine in a 10-game stretch from Jan. 16-Feb. 8. Miller tallied 10 goals in 58 games last season.
Rookie Oscar Lindberg has scored 12 goals, and fellow countryman Jesper Fast has reached double digits (10 goals).
Following this trip, the Rangers will have only 10 regular season games remaining (seven at The Garden, three on the road).
The fun is just beginning!