One up-and-coming New York sports team has laid the path for another
The New York Rangers shocked the world with a hard-fought Eastern Conference Semifinals victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Their Game 7 win on Monday night was an exclamation point for a team whose motto is “#NoQuitInNY.” They continue on as underdogs against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
The last time the Rangers faced the Lightning in the conference finals was also the year that the New York Jets were last playoff-relevant: 2015.
It was a year of crushed hopes and dreams, true. But it was also a year of far exceeded expectations. Jets fans may remember that season painfully for Rex Ryan’s revenge. Still, there is also fondness for FitzMagic, Brandon Marshall, and Eric Decker. The Jets came this close to a playoff berth.
Can magic strike again?
The Rangers have come much farther in their rebuild than most prognosticators imagined. Led by their fantastic young goaltender, Igor Shesterkin, and a breakout from a veteran, Chris Kreider, they earned home-ice advantage in the first round. They have clawed their way to victories in back-to-back series against evidently superior teams.
The Rangers are a young, inexperienced, and hungry team. Sounds like anyone you know?
If a couple of the Jets’ young guns take off before expected, why not them?
Breece Hall, Elijah Moore, and Garrett Wilson can be the Jets’ Adam Fox, Alexis Lafreniere, and Filip Chytil – possibly better. While hoping for Zach Wilson to become the Jets’ Shesterkin may be a stretch, he has enough talent around him that he should not need to be the Jets’ savior, only their leader.
At a minimum, Jets fans want to see six or seven wins with growth from the young guys. But with a few breaks, can the Jets compete for a playoff spot? Absolutely.
Playoff runs tend to come in bunches in New York sports. 1969 saw the Mets, Jets, and Knicks. 1986 saw the Mets and Giants. 1994 saw the Rangers and Knicks. 2015 saw the Rangers and Mets.
Can the Jets, like the Rangers, take the next step in 2022?