Rangers in Good Shape at Half

Halfway through the regular season, the Rangers are right where most people projected them to be. They are in third place in the Atlantic Division and seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 49 points.

Since the first game of the regular season, the Rangers have been plagued by the injury bug. Chris Drury missed most of the first half of the season with a broken finger, and Vinny Prospal is yet to see the ice this season. A groin injury has kept sharpshooter Marion Gaborik in and out of the lineup and preventing him from finding his scoring touch, but perhaps the most costly of Ranger injuries was to Ryan Callahan, who broke his hand blocking a shot against the Penguins and has missed the last nine games.

With all these injuries to key players the Rangers have played well enough to be in the hunt for the playoffs and maybe even the division, although they would have to jump Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

The Rangers have gotten very solid play out of their young players like Artem Anisimov (9G, 12 A)  and Derek Stepan (11 G, 12 A). They have also gotten great contributions from their role players such as Brian Boyle (14 G), and Brandon Prust, who leads the team with three shorthanded goals.

Henrik Lundqvist has been his usual self, making key saves and key times and the defense, led by Marc Staal and Dan Girardi have played well on the offensive and defensive end.

The Rangers will need another complete team effort in the second half of the season and will need to play more consistent hockey if they want to maintain a strong push for the post season. If their big guns can stay healthy all around and players like Stepan and Boyle can continue to produce in key spots, the Rangers give themselves a great shot to be in the top eight teams in the conference, and a chance to make a run deep into the playoffs.

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