Who will be the x-factor for the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
With the New York Rangers set for a big playoff run, looking to lift their first Stanley Cup since 1994, Frank Seravalli dives into the team and talks who he thinks could be the x-factor for the Rangers. in the playoffs.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Let’s talk about a few teams that have now clinched their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs, first the New York Rangers. They are now the third subway team to receive an X to their name and as the teams drop out, let’s take a deep dive. Who has been an X factor for Rangers Frank as we head into the playoffs?
Frank Seravalli: This is the children’s line. That’s what really propelled them to the Eastern Conference Finals last year. Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko, Filip Chytil, you think back to their run in the playoffs and those guys have contributed 20% of the goals scored or the Rangers in the playoffs. It was a huge boost, it was coming out night. They’ve been together for most of the season, can they make the playoffs and then come back to the next level, find more consistency and find more ways to impact the game? When I look at this Rangers team, they have so many great facets, they have this elite skill and top-tier talent and there’s no doubting that with the star power they’ve mustered in their top six. But the one thing that scares me about this team, other than their own defensive zone play, is that they don’t really have a line of identity. They don’t have one that’s a stop line you can throw against opponents to really make life difficult in the playoffs. This line for children is perhaps the closest thing to it. For their sake when you grab the star players they have in Tarasenko, Kane, Kreider, Zibanejad and that whole team. If they are stopped by the opposition on some nights, it will be up to the kids line to show up for Rangers. I think they will, my question is what impact will they have.
Tyler Yaremchuk: I really like that point about high-end skill, the really solid top-six that they have. Well, there will be a lot of teams in the playoffs with really good top-six groups and that differentiating factor could be the production they get from the third row. You’re talking about the playoffs last year, this trio combined for 11 goals in 20 games. If your third line gives you a goal every two playoff games, that’ll push you far enough into a best-of-seven series. Let’s talk about what could sink them if Frank. This attacking group looks like a juggernaut, but is there a weak spot somewhere in this team?
Frank Seravalli: Yeah, it’s not critical for the six defensemen they have in their roster, I think it’s actually a lot more the overall structure of the team in the game. The only thing that concerns me is the structure and play of the defensive zone. They’re not clean enough, they’ve done a bit better this season lowering those odds against and high danger chances in particular, but still that’s the only thing that held them back last year. What that does is put a lot of pressure on Igor Shesterkin, he’s talented and it’s obviously an easy thing for him to do, but it doesn’t leave much room for error when it comes to lows that they’ve had this season. . The times they struggled you can kind of correlate it directly to Shesterkin’s save percentage and I’m not saying that to blame him but it’s what’s happening in front of him that you can see the pucks in their own net. They have the scoring talent, they have the offensive flair and they have the playoff experience they are now armed with, but can they button things up enough on their end to be a truly successful playoff team?
You can watch the full episode here…