The New York Rangers had an outstanding season in 2021-22. The fourth best record in the Eastern Conference with 52 wins, and the second fewest goals allowed in the sport (207), New York now sets its sights on the playoffs which begin tonight at Madison Square Garden against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I like our team, I like where we got a good mix of young guys that took a step this year for us big time,” Head Coach Gerard Gallant said. “I think we can make a run. I don’t know if we’re going to, but I think we’ve good as good a chance as anybody else.”
He should feel that way, even though the Rangers lack the playoff experience the Penguins posses. With Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang still leading this team, the Pens have a direct connection to their past Stanley Cup glory.
HEY HEY HEY— x - New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 3, 2022
NEW YORK, IT'S GAME DAY pic.twitter.com/L6z8qXyOFE
What the Rangers have going for them in this series begins at net with Igor Shesterkin. His 2.07 goals against average and a .935 save percentage was the best in the league this year. New York is 36-13-4 when he is in front of the net. In fact in four starts vs. Pittsburgh, the Penguins struggled against him in four head-to-head matchups, with Shesterkin holding Pittsburgh to 1.01 goals per game in four games. New York went 4-1 against the Pens this year.
Meanwhile the Rangers will need Artemi Panarin, who led the team with 96 points and 74 assists, and Chris Krieder, who led the Rangers, and was third in the league in scoring with 52 goals to step up big time. If Panarin and Kreider have a huge series the Rangers will take care of Pittsburgh fairly quickly.
The series begins tonight at 7 p.m. from the Garden.