Rangers Scoring Drought Goes Back to 40s


Bryan Hextall is the last New York Ranger to lead the NHL in scoring – in 1942.

Earlier this week, the New York Rangers were shut out twice in a row, wasting two outstanding efforts by Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundquist.

The Swedish-born goalie made 77 successive saves before giving up a goal late in the third period against Ottawa. The Senators then added an empty-net goal to beat New York 2-0.

Two nights earlier, Lundquist shut out the New Jersey Devils through regulation and overtime before losing 1-0 in a shootout.

In so many ways, these games typified the Rangers’ lack of scoring punch in their star-crossed history. Through the years this Original Six franchise has had some terrific goaltenders — Chuck, Rayner Gump Worsley, Eddie Giacomin, John Davidson, John Vanbiesbrouck, Mike Richter and Lundquist come to mind — but too many times has failed to provide the scoring punch to support these goalies.

Sure, many of the great all-time NHL scorers have worn the Rangers crest, including five of the top seven all-time goal scorers — Wayne Gertzky, Marcel Dionne, Phil Espositio, Mike Gartner and Mark Messier. But all five hard their greatest years with other teams.

You have to go all the way back to 1942 to find the last Ranger to lead the league in goals. Hall of Fame forward Lynn Patrick, left, scored 32 goals that year to top the NHL. No Ranger has done that since.

Hextall Wins Art  Ross
That same year, another Ranger Hall of Famer, right winger Bryan Hextall, won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer, with 24 goals and 36 assists for 56 points.

Hextall led the league in goals scored in both 1940 with 24 and and 1941 with 26.

Bill Cook, another Hall of Fame Ranger winger, won the very first Ross Trophy in 1927 and won it again in 1933, the only other Ranger to win the total points award.

Hextall won the Ross 68 years ago, and no Ranger has done it since. Andy Bathgate — yes another Hall of Famer — came close in 1962. Bathgate actually tied Chicago’s Bobby Hull with 84 points, but Hull won the tiebreaker on the strength of his 50 goals to 28 for Bathgate.

The Rangers have had just three 50-goal scorers in their history — Vic Hadfield had 50 in 1972, Adam Graves 52 in 1994 when the Rangers last won the Cup and Jaromir Jagr with a team-record 54 in 2006.

With this historic lack of big play offensive, it should come as no surprise that the Rangers have won exactly one Stanley Cup since 1940.


2 Comments on “Rangers Scoring Drought Goes Back to 40s”

  1. Tc says:

    Of course, there was the lamented fallen star don murdock, a victim of nyc nightlife.

  2. Will Runyon says:

    As a long suffering Rangers fan, I think the team’s curse is its location. Because they’re in a money and media capital like New York they always have enough money to throw at some past-prime superstar who’s good for “the gate,” the miraculous Mark Messier notwithstanding. Perhaps they’d be better off finishing dead last for a couple years to get the best new blood in the draft who can then deliver in their prime?

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