While the 2015-16 Rangers season came to a disappointing end Saturday in Pittsburgh, the Blueshirt faithful should take a step back and appreciate the last five years — a Golden Era in the 90-year history of this franchise.
The Rangers current core group has given their fans so many wonderful memories. Eighty-one playoff games since April 2012 — one game shy of a full regular season and more than any other NHL team. Only two other clubs (Chicago and Los Angeles) have played more than 50 playoff games during the same stretch; only 11 others have played more than 30.
The 81 postseason games (41 at MSG) includes: Seven Game 7s (6-1 record), nine overtime victories – the first two comebacks after trailing a series three games to one in franchise history – three trips to the Eastern Conference Final and one appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.
The last five seasons rank up there with the greatest stretches in club history:
- 1928-33 (six seasons): Four appearances in the Stanley Cup Final (two championships) in an 8-to-10 team league.
- 1971-74 (four seasons): Nine playoff rounds, including a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1972 and three other trips to league semi-finals (14-to-16 team league).
- 1979-86 (eight seasons): Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1979, semi-finals in 1981 and 1986.
- 1992-97 (six seasons): Presidents’ Trophy in 1992 and 1994, Stanley Cup Championship in 1994, Conference Final in 1997.
- 2012-16 (five seasons): 13 playoff rounds, 81 postseason games, three trips to Eastern Conference Final, appearance in 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
To steal a quote from my MSG Radio partner Dave Maloney, only one team wins at the end of the season. Twenty-nine other teams go home without the Lord Stanley’s Cup — 14 who miss the playoffs, and 15 who are at the wrong end of the handshake line.
So, my message to Ranger fans is this: Enjoy what we have witnessed over the last five seasons, and here’s to a great 2016-17 campaign.
Have a terrific summer!