Much of the fan base was in the tizzy about how the New York Rangers opened the lockout-shortened season and rightfully so. They looked out-of-sync, a step slow and, at times, completely lost. Not the winning brand of hockey we've grown accustom to here. And not the type of hockey that will get you a spot in the playoffs for a chance to win a Stanley Cup that everyone has predicted you'll win.
After back-to-back wins against the Leafs and Flyers, the Blueshirts are back to their winnings ways are are playing "Rangers" hockey once again: strong on their skates, hard on the puck and playing defense as a unit.
The struggling Penguins visit the Garden on Thursday and carry with them losses in three of their last four games, including a 4-1 loss to the Islanders Tuesday night—the team that prevented Pittsburgh from winning the Atlantic Division in the final week last season. They appear to be ripe for picking.
This will have to be done without Ryan Callahan, who injured his left shoulder during a fight with Max Talbot during Tuesday win vs. the Flyers and will be out for the next 10-14 days. To go it without your captain and your catalyst is a different matter, but this team was forged in adversity. A win over Pittsburgh on Thursday, without Callahan, will be another notch on the team's proverbial belt.
If the Rangers can close out a brief, three-game home stand perfect, they'll be over .500 for the first time this season and their early season struggles will be far behind them. It will be something positive to build on.
Remember, it's not how you start. It's how you finish.