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Everything Keeps Coming Up Rangers

Four straight wins give them best start since '94

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Mar 29, 2012  |  Updated 11:37 AM EDT
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In the last few years, the Rangers' biggest problem was that they were a hard-working team that didn't have enough scoring punch to come back if they were to fall behind on a fluke goal.

They fell behind on just such a goal against the Hurricanes on Thursday night. Brandon Prust blocked a puck, it flipped up into the air, a defenseman batted it to Jeff Skinner and Skinner blasted it past Marty Biron for a 2-1 lead.

There isn't much you can do to stop a goal like that, so you just have to figure out a way to turn around and get the next goal to erase its significance.

Last year's Rangers would have a hard time doing that on a night when things weren't operating as smoothly as they did in the win over the Penguins, but these aren't last year's Rangers.

During a 4:53 stretch of the second period, the Rangers scored three times to reverse the momentum of the game and put themselves on the path to a 5-3 win, their fourth straight victory and a win that gives them their best 22-game mark since the 1993-94 season. We know how that season ended and you're free to allow your dreams to wander a little bit while watching this Rangers team.

They've taken that relentless ethos from recent seasons and married it to a team that plays smart, aggressive hockey in the offensive zone. And while Marian Gaborik remains the star, he's no longer a solo act when it comes to putting the puck in the neck. 

Gaborik had two points last night and 13 other Rangers posted a point, which is a remarkable box score and one that underlines just how good things are going for this team right now.

From Gaborik and Brad Richards to Michael Sauer to John Mitchell and the inimitable Sean Avery, everyone is doing their thing right now and the Rangers have a confident shell that we haven't seen in ages.

Give credit to John Tortorella for allowing this to happen by switching from his historical approach and rolling with four lines so that everyone stays involved in the attack. Mitchell and fellow callup Carl Hagelin are the perfect example of this as they've gone from afterthoughts to essential parts of the team overnight under a coach that probably doesn't give them a second look last season.

Things won't always go this smoothly over the course of a long seasons, but the confidence that you build in good times should mean that no downturn gets the team too out of sorts. Not a bad spot to find yourself two months into a season.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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