Back on December 6th, the New York Rangers gave up a 2-0 lead on the road to lose to the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. The loss left the team with an 11-10-4 record, placing them two points behind the Capitals for fourth in the Metropolitan, and five points behind the Maple Leafs and Bruins for the second wild card spot.
At the same time, the Penguins and Islanders had built up a 12 point lead over the Rangers, and threatened to run away from the pack. Yes, the Blueshirts did have a game in hand on Pittsburgh and Washington, and two in hand on the Isles, but it looked as if the only chance the Rangers would have of making the post-season was to outplay the Capitals.
Nineteen games later, and the Rangers have picked up 32 of a possible 38 points, a win percentage of .842, and now sit third in the Metropolitan Division, a point ahead of Washington - with two games in hand, a point behind Pittsburgh - with a game in hand, and just five points behind the Division leading Islanders, with two games in hand and a matchup scheduled first up following the break.
They're also now two points ahead of the second wildcard Bruins - with three games in hand, and eight ahead of the Florida Panthers - who are the closest team to the final wilcard spot.
Only two teams in the league have more regulation/overtime wins this season than the Rangers' 25. Tampa Bay has 28 having played four more games, and Nashville has 26 with one more game played. Their 3.00 goals a game is sixth in the league, and third in the East - behind Tampa and the Isles, while their 2.32 goals against average is bettered only by Nashville and Chicago.
On the road, they have given up a league low 48 goals in 21 games, four better than the Penguins who come in second, despite having played one fewer road game. Perhaps most surprising is that the Rangers score the exact same 3.00 goals a game on the road as the do at home 3.00, while their defense is actually slightly better on the road at 2.28 verus 2.35 at home.
Five on Five, the Rangers have the fourth best goal ratio at 1.30, and have scored the seventh most goals at full strength, even though they have games in hand on all those above them. Defensively they're second to Nashville with 71 goals given up, though several teams directly below them have played more games.
Four on Four they're tied for ninth, with four goals, all in Overtime. They have not yet given up a goal 4 on 4, just one of two teams to have that distinction - Tampa Bay is the other.
On special teams they're ranked 11th - 19.3% on the Power Play, and have given up four short handed goals - only eight teams have given up more. Meanwhile, the Penalty Kill comes in at 12th at 82.4%, and tied for sixth with four short handed goals.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Rangers have scored six empty net goals this season, which ranks them fifth in the league. Conversely, they've surrendered three empty net goals, which is good enough for fourth in the league.
Under John Tortorella, the Rangers were often slow starters, but that's not the case this year. The Blueshirts are just one of three teams to average a goal or more in the first - Pittsburgh 1.178 and Chicago 1.109 lead the Rangers 1.023, and defensively they give up only 0.663 goals a game in the first - bettered only by New Jersey at 0.553.
They also rank fifth in OT goals this year, with 4 goals, and one of just three teams who are yet to lose a game in Overtime.
In games decided by one goal, the Rangers rank 8th with a solid .579 win percentage, though this is greatly skewed by games decided in the shootout. Throw out two wins and four losses and the ratio goes up to .692. When the game is decided by two goals, the team moves up to fifth - 5-2 or .714 win percentage. Even in three goal games, the Rangers rank in the top 10, with an 11-7 or .611 win percenate, good enough for ninth.
The team's eight shutouts is two better than any other in the league, and they've been shutout three times this year, tied for thirteenth in the league.
Penalty wise, they rank ninth fewest penalty minutes per game at 9.2, and have just 13 major penalties - 10th in the league.