The New York Rangers have been in battle for first place in the NHL for a big chunk of the season and even with last night’s loss, they are still just a point back. The last time they finished first in the NHL was way back in 1994. It was their second President’s Trophy in 3 years and they went on to win the Stanley Cup and end a 54 year drought. This year’s team is battling for first place as well, but a little differently.
If they can finish first and they continue on this pace, they will accomplish two things we have never seen before.
The Rangers aren’t necessarily winning with fire wagon hockey lately. Since Christmas they have 12 wins, and in 8 of those wins they scored just 3 goals. So despite battling for the top spot in the league, they have the 13th best offense in the NHL.
Since expansion in 1967, only one team has ever finished first in the NHL with an offense that wasn’t at least top-10 (The Bruins did it in 1990 when they finished 11th). In fact over 80 percent of those teams that took top spot finished at least top 3 in scoring.
Possible history maker #1: If the Rangers finish first in the NHL and do not move up to at least 11th in offense, they will have the worst offensive team to ever take top spot since expansion in 1967.
Alright, so let’s look at that offense. Their leading scorer is Marian Gaborik with 44 points in 50 games, he is the only player on the roster with at least 40 points, but he sits all the way down in 37th overall in the NHL. We have seen teams have some success without a top notch scorer (Nashville, I’m looking in your direction), but competing for first overall? How is that possible?
Possible history maker #2 No team since expansion has ever finished first without at least one player in the top 30 in scoring
That’s right…none! The closest it came was way back in 1980 when the Flyers finished first and Ken Linseman was 26th in the NHL in scoring. Other than that we have seen fourteen players win the Art Ross, eight players finish top-5, and five players finish top-10.
So to recap, the Rangers could finish first with the lowest offense and lowest leading scorer since expansion. Which leads us to one pretty solid conclusion, Henrik Lundqvist is awesome.
Let’s head to the links
We will start with your Elliotte Friedman 30 thoughts fix
The Kings need some scoring if they are going to make any kind of run in the playoffs (The Fourth Period)
Add another name to your “could be moved by the deadline” list (Pro hockey Talk)
Owen Nolan officially retired, and Puck Daddy counts down their top 10 Nolan moments (I think we all can agree with #1)
Pass it to Bulis counts down 10 former Canucks that could still help the team.
Could we see Jimmy Howard back in net for the Red Wings by this weekend? (Detroit Free Press)
The Good Point with an interesting piece on Patrice Bergeron
Want to be a bandwagon Bruins fan but don’t know where to start? Days of Y’Orr have you covered
and we will end today with Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu