NHL 2022: Can New York Rangers Beat the Defending Champs?

The NHL's three California-based teams have taken the league by storm this season.

It’s that time of the year again for ice hockey fans worldwide. As the playoffs are nearing close, four teams remain to determine who will be facing off in the Stanley Cup finals. These teams are Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New York Rangers, who’ve fought hard in the earlier rounds to reach the conference finals.

The 2022 playoffs have been full of surprises, especially for the Rangers. Despite the near loss from the previous rounds, the team was able to win it all at game 7. Some people think that these are pure luck, which will put it to the test for their upcoming matchup. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning is the current defending champion and looking to get their three consecutive Stanley Cup win for the franchise. With this formidable opponent, the chances of the Rangers returning to the finals are questionable, and it will be one of their biggest challenges yet to face in their quest. Will they push through? Let’s find it out.

Immense Sustainability

If you look at the NHL betting odds, the Tampa Bay Lightning has the favorite to win this matchup. You can’t blame them, as the Rangers have struggled in the past playoffs, even this season. All the games played by the New York Rangers went to a game seven on the brink of elimination. However, the team was able to turn things around.

The world was shocked when the Rangers defeated the Hurricanes with their nearly perfect season. The key players of the Rangers were able to sustain and helped the team secure the game seven win. 

Also, they were able to beat one of the best road teams in the league, the Pittsburgh Penguins. They have overcome different adversities making their chances of winning the finals better. 

Impressive Stats Over the Season

New York Rangers is a professional American ice hockey team from New York and is one of the oldest teams in the League. Throughout history, the franchise has won the Stanley Cup championship four times. However, many fans have been questioning this team from the previous years as their last championship was in 1994

For this season, the Rangers were able to generate an impressive record. The team finished the regular season with 52 wins making it one of their best seasons. Alongside it, 25% power play, 82.30% killing percentage, and 10.5% shooting percentage. However, the team hasn’t been that dominant in the playoffs, making it uncertain if they can win this conference.

Igor Shesterskin

Igor is a professional Russian ice hockey goaltender playing for the New York Rangers in the NHL. He became one of the key factors for the Rangers in sustaining and securing the win in their crucial games. One of his exemplary performances this playoff is during game six against the Hurricanes with 37 saves.

Throughout the season, Shesterskin has been dominant in defending the goal. With an average of 34.1 goals saved in the regular season, he helped the team reach 52 wins. It became one of his notable seasons as he kept his focus and consistency on the ice. 

If Igor can pull off another one of his great performances, and bring his game another notch this conference finals, no doubt, the Rangers can oust the defending champs.

Return of the Kid Line

The Kid Line is one of the arsenals of the New York Rangers. It comprises Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, and Filip Chytil, all former first-round picks in the draft. This lineup contains a lot of young talents but is full of uncertainty due to the lack of playoff experience. 

However, this line has significantly impacted the Rangers, especially on the brink of elimination. While on the ice, the Corsi percentage of the team went to 51.8%. The Rangers lost all of their hope in turning the tables around during that time. But evidently, the young trio sustained and played with their best efforts to make the New York Rangers back at the Conference Finals once again in 2015. 

In addition, this became a signal to the team to keep the Kid Line in their sleeves as it can become the key for the upcoming matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Artemi Panarin

Atermi Panarin is one of the best players of the New York Rangers. One of his recent clutch performances in the playoffs was during the elimination game against Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Artemi has impressive stats during the regular season, but it hasn’t taken effect during the playoffs. However, if he can step up his game against the defending champions Tampa Bay Lightning, their team can be able to beat the odds and return to the Stanley Cup Finals once again.

Final Thoughts

The Tampa Bay Lightning is indeed a strong team in the League. But with recent performances of the New York Rangers, it can still be anyone’s game. The Rangers have proven that they can sustain any challenges in front of them and with their effort as a team, they are growing step by step and slowly reaching the top. For this reason, the New York Rangers are still a strong contender for the Stanley Cup.



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