Rangers ready for strong finish

As we hit the 2/3's mark of the WCHL season, an annual trend continues; The Eastern Conference standings are mayhem. 7 points separate the 4th seed in the East, to the 12th seed in the east. Each night, teams jump into the playoff picture, or plummet a few spots out of the playoff picture. The Rangers have been lucky enough to stay a bit ahead of the group for most of the season. With a current streak of 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, the blue shirts have moved into 1st place in the overall standings with 80 points in 55 games.

The Rangers have done this with a very balanced attack. Unlike in year's past, where they have had mainstays in the top 10 in scoring, top 10 in defensive scoring, or having Lundqvist up near the top of goalie stats. The Rangers are the lone team in the league to have 14 players who have reached the 20 point plateau so far to date. Leading the charge are Anze Kopitar with 60 points and Mark Scheifele with 59 points. The defense is led by Matt Dumba with 44 points, followed closely by Rasmus Ristolainen with 41 points, and Alex Pietrangelo with 39 points. In goal, Henrik Lundqvist has had a solid, not spectacular season. In fact, Lundqvist's backup, Carter Hart, has put up far superior numbers. Lundqvist has had a 2.41 GAA and a 0.916 save %. While Carter Hart has a 1.96 GAA and a 0.932.

The Rangers have also recently signed 2 big pieces of their future, extending both Jake Guentzel and Patrik Laine for 5 years. They join a top 6 are all signed long term, including Anze Kopitar, Mark Scheifele, Gabriel Landeskog and off season signing, TJ Oshie. The Rangers also re-signed their 3rd line center, Dylan Strome, to a long term contract.

Looking ahead to next season, the Rangers will have some tough decisions to move on from some of their bottom of the lineup veterans.

The Rangers got a jump on the trade deadline, and solidified their defense by acquiring Alex Goligoski. The Rangers will likely stand pat on deals the rest of the season, and will go forward from here with the following lineup:

Gabriel Landeskog - Anze Kopitar - TJ Oshie
Jake Guentzel - Mark Scheifele - Patrik Laine
Erik Haula - Dylan Strome - Thomas Vanek
Marcus Granlund - Chris Mueller - Jason Pominville

Alex Pietrangelo - Rasmus Ristolainen
Cam Fowler - Matt Dumba
Joel Edmundson - Alex Goligoski

Henrik Lundqvist
Carter Hart

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