The Rangers are aware no team has ever been awarded the Stanley Cup after the first three games of a season.
So, no, they are not anticipating a banner-raising ceremony in the near future for starting the 2015-16 season with wins over Chicago and Columbus.
That doesn’t mean the Blueshirts aren’t enjoying what they have accomplished.
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“We knew it was going to be tough,” Marc Staal said following the 5-2 Garden opening win over the Blue Jackets Saturday night. “It’s definitely nice to get out to a 3-0 lead.”
The Rangers were 3-0-0, heading into last night’s game against Winnipeg, to start the season for the first time since the 2008-09 season, and the home opener win was the team’s first since the 2009-10 season.
“You get a winning feel and that confidence that you can win games early,” Staal said. “That’s always a good thing. At the same time, we are winning games and we are not playing our best so we can look to improve while we are doing it--we are winning--so it’s nice.”
Against the Blue Jackets Saturday night, the Rangers jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Columbus scored two third period window dressing goals. The game also marked the third time in three games in which the Rangers scored three times in a singular period. Against Chicago on Oct. 7, the Rangers scored three times in the first period. Two nights later in Columbus, the Rangers scored three in the third. In the home opener, Oscar Lindberg (two goals) and Dominic Moore (one) put three pucks behind Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Derick Brassard’s goal late in the second period chased Bobrovsky from the game. His replacement, Curtis McElhinney, allowed a third period goal to Derek Stepan. Eleven Rangers finished with one point in the win, and through the first three games of the season, 14 players have recorded a point and seven different players have scored a goal.
“I think the core group from last year is helping the new guys,” said Henrik Lundqvist, who was stellar in making 37 saves to win his third straight start. “Together I think we understand what needs to be done early on. Two years ago, we changed our system [and] last year we tried to recover a little bit from the [Stanley Cup Final run] but now this year I feel like we all understand what needs to be done. It’s important that we set the tone early and build something positive. Our game plan, we know what we need to do. I think these first three games, they haven’t been perfect but we have been finding ways to make the [opposition] pay when they make mistakes. We really took advantage in the first period. Our energy, the building was great so we took advantage of that and Columbus] made some poor decisions early.
“It was not hard to find that energy.”