Rangers rolling again with playoff-style hockey: ‘Helps build an identity’

On Day 1, head coach Peter Laviolette challenged this Rangers team to play playoff hockey all season long, so that it’s an easier transition to the real thing once the postseason actually begins April 22.

It was a sentiment the Blueshirts bought into, which allowed them to jump out to an impressive 18-4-1 start.

December and January may have seen the club go through a rough patch, but since the All-Star break, the Rangers have gotten back to their playoff-style ways.

They are 16-4-1 since Feb. 5 with a goal differential of plus-27.

Plenty of games have had a playoff feel to them, and the team has largely risen to each occasion.

“I like the way our guys compete,” Laviolette said earlier this week at MSG Training Center. “I watch practice out here [Wednesday] and I watch us, we’re coming off a game and we go out for almost 30 minutes, and the guys went fast and hard at each other. I think that helps build an identity and who we are. I don’t know if it surprises me [that we’ve been in first place in the Metropolitan Division], I’m just glad that we bought into that concept of that compete every day. I think that translates.“You are what you eat, and if you are that every day, then that’s what you are. I thought that’s been good.”

Pavel Zacha #18 of the Boston Bruins skates against Vincent Trocheck #16 of the New York Rangers at the TD Garden on March 21, 2024. NHLI via Getty Images

It has started in practice for the Rangers, who are still holding high-intensity skates into late March.

There’s been a confident attitude exuding from the locker room since the start of the season.

The Rangers’ 46 wins and points percentage (.686) lead the entire NHL.

Additionally, their 38 regulation wins are tied with the Canucks for the second most in the league, behind only the Jets’ 39.

After notching the game-winning goal Thursday against the Bruins, Adam Fox established a new career high with 13 tallies on the season.

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) reacts after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period at the TD Garden. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

He also extended his point streak to six games, over which the 26-year-old defenseman posted three goals and five assists.

The Rangers face the Panthers on Saturday then the Flyers on Tuesday at MSG. ahead of their last multi-city trip of the regular season in Colorado and Arizona on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

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