Perfect 5-year model

Rich Fyle column

From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

If you follow New York City sports teams, you could be in heaven right now, considering the Yankees and Mets both lead their respective divisions by healthy margins in MLB, and the New York Rangers are just six wins away from capturing their second Stanley Cup in 27 seasons, or 28 actual years if you like.

The Rangers have displayed a certain bravado during their impressive Stanley Cup march, eliminating the rival Penguins and the Metro Division champion Hurricanes each in seven games.

They lead the two-time defending champion Lightning, 2-1, in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference final series despite Sunday’s biting, last-minute defeat in Florida.

The Rangers have won eight straight playoff games at home this spring, tying a franchise record, and more impressively, they are a gaudy 5-0 combined in elimination games against the Penguins and Hurricanes.

New York plays a critical Game 4 tonight at Tampa. This swing meeting will determine what direction the series will be heading. New York has to win a big road playoff game to put a stranglehold on the series. They did it previously at Pittsburgh and Carolina, but can they do it again?

The Rangers’ playoff roll is similar to that of the Canadiens during their 1993 title run — the last Canadian-based club to win the crown.

While the Canadiens used overtime magic to win the Cup — an NHL-record 10 OT wins, all consecutively, in one playoff year — the Rangers are taking advantage primarily of home ice and timely goals in key spots that led to back-to-back Game 7 series wins over the Penguins and Hurricanes.

The Canadiens went 48-30-6 for 102 points with a plus-46 goal differential, finishing in third place in the Adams Division in the regular season. They beat the Nordiques in six games, Sabres in four, Islanders in five and Kings in five to win the Cup. They went 2-1, 3-0, 2-0 and 3-0 in OT games in their respective series.

Patrick Roy was a brick in goal, going 16-4 with a 2.13 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.

The Rangers — who went 52-24-6 for 110 points with a plus-47 goal differential to place second in the Metro Division in the regular season — are 9-4 in their past 13 playoff games. Goalie Igor Shersterkin (10-5, 2.60, .929) steadies the ship, while Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox share the team scoring lead with 22 points.

If the Rangers can protect home ice vs. the Lightning, they can play for the Stanley Cup soon, most likely against the high-powered Avalanche, in a bid to capture their first championship since 1994.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.