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Old 04-05-2019, 01:45 PM   #1
devo22
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Icon48 ECQF: #2 Washington Capitals vs #7 New York Rangers



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What a difference a year makes.

When devo22 was hired as the Rangers' new GM on April 3 2018, the team had long been eliminated from playoff contention and was looking at the prospect of a painful rebuild. One year later, on April 2 2019, the Rangers secured the coveted "x" with a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals.

"I didn't know it's one day away from being exactly one year", he said with a grin. "That's pretty cool. Cheesy almost. But yeah, it's been a crazy year."

A sentiment that his players will undoubtedly share. When they came off the ice following a 2-1 loss against Carolina on the final day of the regular season, their feelings were distinctively different than the ones they had last year when they finished off their season with a 3-2 win over Tampa. Not that many players could attest to it, as only forwards Bobby Ryan, Gustav Nyquist and Oscar Lindberg were already here a year ago.

"It's exciting", said Ryan, a veteran forward who like Nyquist re-signed with the Rangers last summer. "We'll be the underdogs, no doubt about it. But I think we can surprise a few people."

The fact that the Rangers (44-31-7) were able to book a playoff ticket is in itself remarkable. After a myriad of summer moves, they stumbled out to a 13-20-3 start and again seemed destined to be mired in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference. But the Rangers kicked off a spectacular comeback with a 9 game winning streak and finished out the season with an impressive 31-11-4 record. They punched the playoff ticket in game 81 with a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals, the team they are set to play against round 1.

"It's been a great turnaround", said summer UFA signing Valtteri Filppula, who scored two goals in the Rangers' win over Washington on Wednesday. "We don't really know what sparked it, but we'll take it. We feel the Rangers of the second half of the season are the 'real' Rangers, so we hope to carry that over into the playoffs".

A hope that is undoubtedly shared by GM devo22, who didn't even try to hide his delight after his team clinched a playoff berth on Wednesday. After taking over and assessing the team in the final four games of the 2017-18 season, he completely dismantled the team in the summer with a number of big trades. He made another big move early in the season, shipping out Jonathan Quick and Travis Hamonic in a deal that brought in James Reimer and Brett Pesce. However, the GM refused to go back to the drawing board after their disappointing start, and also stood pat at the trade deadline. Patience that was rewarded by the team in the end.

"We believe in this group", he said prior to the team's meaningless final regular season game. "It would have been easy to hit the panic button, the offers were there. But at the same time, nothing made sense and the team started winning. Our problem solved itself. We're extremely proud of this team, now it's time to make the next step."

That next step will be to prove that the Rangers' regular season success against the Capitals was no fluke. The Rangers won three of the four meetings, the only loss coming in a 3-2 overtime loss with backup Mike Condon in net. Starting goaltender James Reimer won all three starts against Washington, logging a 1.67 GAA and a .948% save percentage in those three matchups. He stopped 35 of 37 in their win on Wednesday.

"We can't wait", a smiling Reimer said after Friday's optional skate.


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Good luck, Ashasx!

Last edited by devo22; 04-05-2019 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 04-05-2019, 02:13 PM   #2
Cheese
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"That's pretty cool. Cheesy almost.

LOL...I agree!
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:40 PM   #3
Ashasx
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look at that road record
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Old 04-06-2019, 12:38 PM   #4
Hanna Sniper
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I'm cheering on the rangers just because Carolina got mentioned :grin:
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