JERUSALEM – Sunday School is now in session! Well, sort of. This will be a bit of a Biblical narrative associated with the New York Rangers pathway to Lord Stanley’s Cup. Sure, Moses used a staff – not a hockey stick – as I would have preferred, to part the Red Sea while leading the Israelites exodus out of Egypt. Fast forward a couple of thousand years and there’s been a parting of a chasm in the NHL Playoffs that look very promising for the Blueshirts–provided first that they get past the Ottawa Senators in the second round. If yesterday’s game is any indication, then the Rangers should polish off Ottawa somewhat easily in the next three games.
Gone from these NHL Playoffs are some of the leading point-getters in the regular season. Out West, the perennial Cup contending Chicago Black Hawks were swept out of the first round by the resurrected Nashville Predators (a victory which I predicted in comments made to Angry Ward a few weeks ago). The Minnesota Wild placed second in the conference and were dispatched just as quickly by the St. Louis Blues while the Edmonton Oilers are in the process of knocking out the third-ranked Anaheim Ducks after taking the first two games of the series on enemy ice. As you can see seismic tumult has created a great opportunity there for the taking. Confidently, I would make the Rangers favorites against any of the four remaining Western teams–provided first that they get past the Ottawa Senators in the second round.
In the Eastern Conference, the Columbus Blue Jackets are no longer thanks to the Pittsburgh Penguins as are the Montreal Canadiens at the hands of the Rangers. The only obstacle will be the winner of what should be a seven-game series between the Washington Capitals and Penguins. But the Rangers will benefit from the long series I predict and the President’s Trophy curse that is the Capitals cross to bear. The Penguins have plugged replacements in their lineup with great success but that good fortune is bound to run out soon while repeat champs are the exception in the NHL and not the rule. The Rangers would be a good bet against either team–provided first that they get past the Ottawa Senators in the second round.
While Rangers fans are secretly plotting the same path I’m outlining, keep in mind the window of opportunity is closing for their team and thirty-five year-old net-minder Henrik Lundqvist. This group of Blueshirts have 2017 and the next two years in which to win that beautiful trophy as Stanley Cup winning goalies usually don’t become champions beyond the age of 37. Unless King Henry can perform the miracle of walking (skating) on (frozen) water beyond two years from now Rangers fans will have to exhibit the patience of Job once seen during the spell of years from 1940-1994. There is no time and better chance to win the whole damn thing than the present–provided first that they get past the Ottawa Senators in the second round.
That’s it. Please comment below and come back tomorrow for a man who knows how to part things, Hugh P. Ness. And please follow us on Twitter – @CheesyBruin & @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.