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First half a major success for Blueshirts

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
By Dan David,

Just how good have the New York Rangers been this season?

Consider this:

With Monday night's 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at MSG, the Rangers completed the first half of the 2008-09 season with the most points since 2005-06 and the most victories since 1995-96.

The 2008-09 Rangers have had a lot of reason to celebrate in racking up their best first-half record since 1995-1996.
Since the 82-game schedule became an NHL standard prior to the 1995-96 season, the 24-14-3 Blueshirts have seen their best overall first half in 13 years. Their 51 points matches the total of the 2005-06 season, when Jaromir Jagr broke all of the team's major single-season scoring records. Their 24 wins are the most since the 1995-96 Rangers jumped out to a 25-10-6 record over the first half.

In addition, the Rangers completed their fourth straight first half with at least 20 wins. Discounting a lockout-shortened 1995 season, that's the longest stretch since the Blueshirts finished the first half with 20 or more victories in six consecutive seasons from 1990-91 to 1996-97.

That six-season stretch, however, included two years of an 84-game schedule, and in 1992-93, the Rangers did not get their 20th victory until their 42nd game. Through 41 games, the Rangers have not had 20 or more wins in four consecutive seasons since a five-season run from 1968-69 to 1972-73.

In fairness to history, however, it should be noted that victories accumulated in shootouts this season would have been ties prior to 2005, and all overtime victories would have been ties prior to 1983. Nevertheless, a win is a win, and NHL record-keeping makes no adjustment or exception for the way in which a victory is attained.

Here is a look at how the 2008-09 season stacks up against all other seasons of an 82-game schedule:

Rangers First Half Performances Since 1995-96
(Note: Ties registered in same category as OTL)
Year 41-Game Record Points Year-end Total
1995-96 25-10-6 56 96 points
2008-09 24-14-3 51 TBD
2005-06 22-12-7 51 100 points
2001-02 22-14-5 49 80 points
1996-97 20-16-5 45 86 points
2007-08 20-17-4 44 97 points
2006-07 20-17-4 44 94 points
2003-04 17-16-8 42 69 points
1998-99 17-17-7 41 77 points
1999-00 14-17-10 38 73 points
2002-03 15-20-6 36 78 points
1997-98 12-17-12 36 68 points
2000-01 16-22-3 35 72 points
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