Short Season Comparisons Give Hope To Rangers

 Monday March 18, 2013 by The Hockey Daily.

 

As of 9 March, 1995, the NHL was approximately halfway through its first lockout shortened season. When comparing 1995 to 2013 it is important to note that certain factors make the previous short season much different than the current one. 1) A team that lost in overtime did not receive a point back in 1995. 2) There were no shootouts. After 65 minutes a game ended in a tie and each team received a point. 3) A team that lost in OT back in 1995 did not receive a single point for losing.

 

As of 9 March, 1995 the playoff standings in the Eastern Conference were as follows:

  1. Quebec Nordiques 35
  2. New York Rangers 29
  3. Pittsburgh Penguins 34
  4. Philadelphia Flyers 27
  5. Boston Bruins 26
  6. Buffalo Sabres 23
  7. New York Islanders 21
  8. Hartford Whalers 21
  9. Tampa Bay Lightning 20
  10. New Jersey Devils 20
  11. Washington Capitals 19
  12. Montreal Canadiens 19
  13. Florida Panthers 19
  14. Ottawa Senators 9

 

Eastern Conference Standings at the end of the season:

  1. Quebec Nordiques 65
  2. Philadelphia Flyers 60
  3. Pittsburgh Penguins 61
  4. Boston Bruins 57
  5. New Jersey Devils 52
  6. Washington Capitals 52
  7. Buffalo Sabres 51
  8. New York Rangers 47
  9. Florida Panthers 46
  10. Hartford Whalers 43
  11. Montreal Canadiens 43
  12. Tampa Bay Lightning 37
  13. New York Islanders 34
  14. Ottawa Senators 23

 

Noteworthy changes from the halfway point to the end of the season in the Eastern Conference:

  • The New York Rangers dropped from 2nd in the conference down to 8th, making the playoffs by only one point over the 9th place Florida Panthers. The Panthers made the playoffs the following season and went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
  • The New York Islanders and Hartford Whalers who were barely in the playoffs around the halfway point ended up falling short in the end, finishing 13th and 10th.
  • The two teams that made the playoffs after not being in a spot halfway through were the Washington Capitals and the New Jersey Devils.
  • The most interesting stat from this comparison is that the New Jersey Devils were not in the playoffs halfway through the 1995 shortened NHL season yet went on to win the Stanley Cup in 1995.

 

The Western Conference Standings as of 9 March, 1995:

  1. Detroit Red Wings 30
  2. Calgary Flames 26
  3. St. Louis Blues 29
  4. Chicago Blackhawks 29
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs 25
  6. Dallas Stars 21
  7. San Jose Sharks 20
  8. Edmonton Oilers 20
  9. Vancouver Canucks 19
  10. Winnipeg Jets 19
  11. Los Angeles Kings 16
  12. Anaheim Mighty Ducks 14

 

Western Conference Standings at the conclusion of the 1995 regular season:

  1. Detroit Red Wings 70
  2. Calgary Flames 55
  3. St. Louis Blues 61
  4. Chicago Blackhawks 53
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs 50
  6. Vancouver Canucks 48
  7. San Jose Sharks 42
  8. Dallas Stars 42
  9. Los Angeles Kings 41
  10. Winnipeg Jets 39
  11. Edmonton Oilers 38
  12. Anaheim Mighty Ducks 37

 

Most interesting changes in the West:

  • The Vancouver Canucks went from 1 point out halfway, to a comfortable spot in 6th by the end of the season.
  • The Edmonton Oilers who barely hung onto a spot in 8th at the halfway point fell all the way to 2nd last in the conference by the end of the season.

 

Comparing 1995 to 2013 is purely for entertainment purposes because so much has changed in the eighteen year gap between shortened seasons. There were no extra points to losing overtime teams, no shootouts, there were only two divisions per conference then, and the rules were significantly different back then as well.

For arguments sake, if history is to repeat itself like it sometimes does then a team on the outside looking in right now could do what the Devils did in 1995. A team in 10th right now could have a late season push to make the playoffs and go all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals and win. The two teams that sit 10th right now are the New York Rangers in the East and the Edmonton Oilers in the West. To make this comparison as accurate as possible the Rangers are the team that could make the playoffs in the 2nd half and go all the way to win the Stanley Cup.

 

Comparisons between the 1995 New Jersey Devils and 2013 New York Rangers:

  • The 95′ Devils lost in the Conference Finals the year before to the New York Rangers. If you reverse franchises this season, it is the Rangers coming off a Conference Finals loss to the Devils.
  • The 95′ Devils were a defensive minded team with a high profile goaltender, Martin Brodeur. This year’s New York Rangers and their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist meet that criteria perfectly.
  • The 95′ Devils were primed and ready to win. After a great playoff run the season before expectations were high. They had to prove the previous season wasn’t a fluke and establish themselves as a legit threat to win the Cup. They started slow but came around late in the season when the pressure was on. This season’s New York Rangers find themselves in a similar situation. They came into this season with high expectations because of last season’s success. The pressure is on them to take a step forward from last season and they have 21 games to do so.

 

With very little time left in the season it is going to be interesting to see if the New York Rangers or any other team can accomplish what the Devils did in 1995 by having a great second half and winning the Stanley Cup.