The final time the Rangers went to Montreal, they did so with a 9-9-2 report, coming off a stinker in Ottawa and shortly dug themselves a 4-Zero deficit.
Thursday, they may take the ice at Bell Centre as winners of eight of their previous 9 and all of the sudden simply 4 factors out of the ultimate playoff spot, having pinpointed that Nov. 23 recreation towards the Canadiens because the turning level of their season.
The Rangers ended up successful that recreation 6-5 in a wild comeback, but it surely wasn’t simply the consequence that also resonates with the staff three months later.
“I feel what occurred in that recreation is there was a perception in one another,” coach David Quinn mentioned Wednesday after a quick non-compulsory follow. “I simply vividly keep in mind being down 3-Zero going into the second interval, however we had performed effectively. Just the sensation within the locker room, it felt completely different. Guys believed. … Then you get down 4-Zero and also you suppose all of the partitions are going to collapse and there’s going to be somewhat little bit of a give up, but it surely by no means felt that means on the bench.
“I feel that was actually what all of us allude to once we speak concerning the turning level — not solely the truth that we received the sport, however the inner perception in one another. You can’t have success when you don’t have that. We have it.”
That confirmed by way of once more Tuesday night time when the Rangers got here out of the commerce deadline by pulling out a 4-Three time beyond regulation win towards the Islanders at the Coliseum even after blowing a 3-1 third-period lead. They bought key targets from their high gamers — Mika Zibanejad netted the winner on a cross from Artemi Panarin, who scored earlier within the night time — but additionally bought clutch contributions from the remainder of their lineup. The third line (Brett Howden) and fourth line (Greg McKegg) chipped in targets, the rookie defensive pair of Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren continued to thrive and Alexandar Georgiev stood tall in web.
“We haven’t had passengers,” Quinn mentioned.
That depth will want to proceed to present up down the stretch if the Rangers are to maintain their playoff hopes alive. After the Canadiens, the Rangers can have one other probability to make a dent within the standings with video games towards the Flyers (seven factors forward) on Friday and Sunday.
The time has come for scoreboard-watching with 20 video games left, a great distance from the place the Rangers stood after they final arrived in Montreal.
“I do know we had a variety of query marks earlier than the season began,” Quinn mentioned. “How was Fox going to be? How was Lindgren going to be? Was [Filip] Chytil going to make a soar? How good was [Kaapo] Kakko going to be? How was Brett going to slot in? How was [Jacob] Trouba going to slot in? Was Mika going to proceed to transfer ahead? How good was [Chris] Kreider going to be? How was he going to deal with — there was a variety of query marks from our conclusion of it. Luckily for us, all of them labored out in a constructive method.”
One query now stays. Making the playoffs was by no means the end-all, be-all for this 12 months’s staff, however now that they’re within the race, can they really pull it off?
“It’s laborious not to look at the standings, however you strive not to,” mentioned Brendan Lemieux, who scored two targets in that comeback win over the Canadiens. “We’re shut and we are able to odor it and we wish to be there. But the one factor we are able to management is simply taking part in good hockey and worrying about two factors each time we get the prospect. That’s what we’ve been doing.”