Rangers Afterthoughts: Assessing this 3 game losing streak
The Rangers have now lost three games in a row and the analytics world is rejoicing! The regression everyone has been waiting for has finally arrived. Henrik Lundqvist save percentage has dropped and the Rangers shooting percentage also.
Yes, that PDO regression is real. Even I touched on the matter recently and said the Rangers would come down from their ridiculous 107 PDO. Of course, just like clockwork after I wrote about it the Rangers start to lose.
Now after these 3 stinkers (for various reasons), the Rangers PDO has slipped to 105. Against Montreal, which was an absolute bomb, their PDO was 80, Boston 99 and Philly 94. I am not a fan of corsi, because in my estimation it’s not a true measure of possession. Still, you must give credence to the fact the Rangers simply don’t shoot the puck enough which was a real issue yesterday.
So what’s wrong?
Too many games lately is a small but reasonable factor. Yesterday was 3 in 4 nights and 6 in the last 10. It’s not an excuse, just a reality that all teams must deal with. The Rangers played a good game in the first period yesterday and then looked like they were skating in quicksand for the 2nd and 3rd periods. Only Antti Raanta looked fresh and was by far the best Ranger on the ice.
Shoddy Defensive Zone Coverage by EVERYONE! This has been plaguing the Rangers for weeks. However, after Montreal they improved in both games to a degree. Boston was pretty good until the final few minutes of the third period where it all fell apart. It was actually strong against Philly, the Simmonds breakaway goal was off a great pass and Klein literally had no legs to catch him.
Bad Breaks cost the Rangers more in Boston than anything else. Yes, the game was marred by the final few minutes but let’s be honest…the game was terribly officiated. The turning point came in the 2nd period when Matt Beleskey illegally hit Derek Stepan and broke his ribs. On that one play, they lost their #2 center and a defenseman for 17 minutes plus gave up the game timing PP goal. Imagine if a 5 minute major was called on Beleskey instead, what a different game it would’ve been?
Injuries have now caused Alain Vigneault to line juggle and try to find new combos. Yes, a folly of issues on defense caused the loss in Boston late. However, even though they were up 3-2, the fact they played without basically 2 players for most of the third and the issues it caused juggling lines caught up to them in Boston and against Philly.
Marc Staal is playing terrible. All the Rangers blue-liners have been bad defensively but Staal has been atrocious. He is literally throwing pucks away to the opposition on almost a regular basis. Cry about Girardi all you want, but McDonagh has made more mistakes over these last three games then him. Yandle has been bad too, both he and McDonagh are only saved by what they can do offensively. Dan Boyle has slipped tremendously and Dylan McIlrath is on the rise, but you know he will be scratched for him soon. My thought is that Staal should be scratched if Boyle must play. Alain Vigneault has his hands full and needs to get the defense set straight before they play again.
So that’s my take on the Rangers issues and all can be fixed. These 3 games will likely just be a blip on the screen of an 82 game season….I hope.