Rangers take second straight Presidents Trophy

For a second consecutive season, the New York Rangers have reached the pinnacle of the WCHL's regular season standings. The Ranger's finished Season 25 with a record of 61-17-4 for 126 points. A record almost identical to last season's record of 62-16-4 for 128 points. The Rangers went into the final game of the season vs the Philadelphia Flyers with a chance to tie last year's record, but fell 5-2, falling 2 points short of last season's record. This was an unexpected finish to the season to say the least, as GM Andrew Don expected a fall back in the standings after losing 4-5 key contributors to last season's team. The Rangers got younger and cheaper this season, but some unexpected performances carried the squad.

To start off, Henrik Lundqvist, again, was the backbone to this squad. Lundqvist finished first in wins (61), first in shutouts (8), first in GAA (2.30) and first in save percentage (.914). To say he is a lock to win the Vezina trophy, is an understatement. Henrik was expected to start taking a step back in his play, as he enters the twilight of his career. This may happen in the near future, but it certainly didn't happen this season.

Next, it was the defense that carried the squad. The Rangers had 4 defensemen finish with at least 18 goals and 59 points. Off season acquisition Trevor Daley led the way with 21 goals and 78 points, finishing just outside the league's top 10 defensive scorers. Daley also led the team with a +40 mark. The Rangers relied heavily on their top 4 defensemen of Alex Pietrangelo (who led the league in minutes played), Rasmus Ristolainen (who led the league in Penalty Minutes), Cam Fowler (who was the only defenseman to finish over a PP and the aforementioned Daley. The bottom pairing defensemen, Dennis Seidenberg, Matt Hunwick and Damon Severson also played admirably, just with a lot less icetime.

Up front, the team was carried by their top 6 of Mark Scheifele, Jakub Voracek, Mike Cammalleri, Anze Kopitar, Gabriel Landeskog and Patrick Eaves. The bottom 6 left something to be desired, and can be looked upon as the team's weakness heading into the playoffs.

The team will be looking to win their 2nd back-to-back titles in franchise history, and add to the 4 titles they have, which are tied with the San Jose Sharks for most in WCHL history. The Rangers currently do not know their first round matchup, as the battle for the final playoff spot in the east will come down to the final day of the regular season. It is simple, if Boston wins, in any fashion, the Rangers will draw them in round 1. If the Bruins do not win, the Rangers will face the upstart Toronto Maple Leafs. The Rangers will look to use their vast playoff experience in the matchup with either of these teams.

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