The New York Rangers are tied for the NHL lead with 30 standings points, rank fourth with 404 points during the past four-and-a-quarter seasons, and join the Chicago Blackhawks as the only teams to have reached the conference finals in three of the past four seasons. And yet, they haven't won the Stanley Cup in over 20 years, and are unlikely to do so this season. Why are they apparently destined to be nothing more than this decade's perennial near misses?
First of all, winning the Stanley Cup is quite difficult. Statistically, the league's best team finishes their season with a Cup victory only twice per decade. Furthermore, the team that posts the best record isn't always the league's best team.
While the Rangers certainly have their strengths, including one of the league's top goaltenders, and an experienced and accomplished coaching staff, they are not the league's best team, despite the gap they've put in the standings on the rest of the Metropolitan division so far. Let's dive into the numbers to see why the odds are stacked against the mighty Rangers winning the Cup.