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The New York Rangers Are Your 2023-24 Stanley Cup Champions

Icon Sportswire. Getty Images.

Yep. It's that simple. First team to 100 points & to punch their postseason ticket automatically wins. Anyone who knows anything knows that.

OK obviously that's not the case - but the Rangers have been the league's best, most consistent squad all season long and deserve their flowers. Through all of 2023 they were tops before a disaster of a January. A 5-7-2 record had it looking like they were crashing back down to earth thanks in large part to monumental failures of their two biggest strengths - their powerplay and goaltending.

Not so fast.

Since the calendar flipped to February, the Blueshirts have once again been the #1 team in the league and a grueling March schedule along with some key injuries on the back end have done nothing to slow them down. Top 5 in goals for despite a powerplay that's still not peaking. Top 5 in goals against thanks to a resurgent Shesterkin who'd be a Vezina finalist if not for his inexplicable January shit show. And even in the few times Igor's been mortal the Blueshirts have still found ways to pull out 6-5 comeback wins against first the Isles then again last night against a pesky Flyers squad. 

This isn't an Oilers or Preds squad that's had one insane streak to save themselves from mediocrity. The Rangers didn't lose consecutive games until 2 months into the season. They've only lost more than 2 straight in regulation one time. Yeah they had a nice 10-game win streak but outside of that it's been one 6-gamer then one 4-gamer. Regardless of who's hurt, playing poorly or how difficult the schedule is these Rangers have grinded out 3 of 4 all damn year. Sometimes it's looked easy. Other times it's looked ugly. But they don't ask how, they ask how many…and right now the answer to "how many" is "the most in the NHL".

I know, I know…regular season means nothing, look at last year's Bruins blah blah blah. I get it. Still, it's hard not to be excited about this Blueshirts squad heading into the playoffs. They've got all the pieces. An elite Vezina-caliber goaltender with 2.45/.929 playoff peripherals over 28 games. A back end anchored by a Norris-caliber d-man who's racked up 31 points in his last 27 playoff tilts. Lindgren the warrior. Trouba the game-changer. Youngsters Miller, Schneider and even Zac Jones taking advantage of more opportunity of late due to injuries. They're deep & versatile enough to handle whatever comes their way when the stakes are raised.

Artemi Panarin is playing his best hockey - better than his Hart finalist season a couple years ago - eclipsing 40 goals & 100 points for the first time in his career while making his line with Trocheck and Lafreniere one of the highest-scoring trios in the league. They're strong down the middle with Zibanejad, who's recently hit his scoring stride & has a playoff track record that includes 24 points in 20 games two seasons ago, along with Trocheck & Wennberg who's given the Rangers a legit checking line presence. Kreider's had the quietest 33-goal season while piling up 16 in his last 27 playoff contests. Bottom sixers like Vesey, Kakko, Cuylle and even Brodzinski have all contributed offensively & defensively while Rempe has provided this squad a physical shot in the arm - whether it be dropping the mitts or forcing turnovers with big o-zone hits.

You need superstars. You need youth to step up. You need depth. You need some sandpaper. The Rangers check all these boxes.

"But what about 5x5…"

I'm so sick of this argument. They've got more 5x5 goals than Florida. They've got better Corsi & scoring chance percentages than the Bruins. They've got a better 5x5 shot share than the Canucks. The Carolina Hurricanes have been the league's analytical darlings for years yet they haven't won a single game past the second round in 5 years. No team is perfect, and even if it seems like they are you still gotta win games when it matters…and this iteration of the New York Rangers is built to do exactly that in just a few weeks time.

VIVA LA BLUESHIRTS!!!!