Ice Age On Broadway? Rangers offense has gone cold

Brassard and Zuccarello need to get going (Getty)

Brassard and Zuccarello need to get going (Getty)

The New York Rangers have had a lot of success over the last 8 games. Even if they lost on Wednesday they’ve still played good hockey. Where has the offense gone though?

Sure, they’ve won a lot more than they’ve lost but they were all low scoring games. Doesn’t matter when you’re winning 5 in a row or going 14-3-3 in 20 games but as soon as they lose a game we fans naturally begin to wonder. For most of this season scoring has not been a problem and the Rangers were one of the top scoring teams in the NHL.

Editor’s Note: FullTilt Rangers is currently working on an article examining the dip in offensive production as it relates to shot quality.

The problem though was the Rangers really high shooting percentage. For a large part of the season the Rangers were scoring at almost 10% at even strength, which is well above league average. that was bound to come down but since March 1st the Rangers are scoring on only 5.2% of their shots at even strength and 6.1% in all situations. All well below league average which is about 7.5%.

So why has the Rangers offense dried up in the two weeks since the trade deadline? It has more to do with the level of play picking up than it does statistics or anything of that sort but the Rangers were due for a dry spell.

Rangers are without MSL's services (Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Rangers are without MSL’s services (Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

They weren’t going to shoot 9.9% all season long but when you factor in the loss of key players Kevin Klein and Martin St. Louis the dynamic changes. Klein is the Rangers top scoring defenseman to date and St. Louis is third in points 2nd in goals. So two important skaters go down and the games are getting tighter down the stretch and teams aren’t going to hand over two points this time of year.

Also, instead of the players that are injured being in the lineup, there are extras playing in their place and other skaters moving up in the lineup. These players are in positions they aren’t normally used to playing.

Is Kevin Hayes able to play second line wing? Sure he is but he was being groomed as a centerman which comes with a different mindset and different responsibilities.

Can Matt Hunwick play on the Rangers bottom pair consistently? Absolutely but he was a game here and a game there. Now, he has to play every game for a few weeks in place of a top 4 defenseman and not make any mistakes. He made an error in his first game back when he followed Brad Richards behind the net on the game winner against the Blackhawks. It proved to be a costly mistake in that it was the only goal of the game.

The real concern has to be the Rangers lack of scoring in their last 7 games. 11 goals since scoring 4 against Nashville isn’t going to cut it.

Where are the Rangers top guns? During this 7 game drought, NY’s top 6 forwards have scored a total of 4 goals! Two of them were from Marty St. Louis and he isn’t in the lineup right now. Derick Brassard and Rick Nash have the other two goals.

TOP 6 COLD OFFENSE

Derick Brassard – 7GP, 1G, 1A

Rick Nash – 7GP, 1G, 2A

Chris Kreider – 7GP, 0G, 2A

Mats Zuccarello – 7GP, 0G, 3A

Martin St. Louis – 6GP, 2G, 1A

Derek Stepan – 7GP, 0G, 0A

NY needs these guys to start shooting more and get to the high scoring areas where goals come from. This is the only way the Rangers will break out of this funk.

 

Here’s the bottom line, teams run hot and cold during long stretches of the year. While the Rangers have hit what seems like an Ice Age, just realize warmer days are ahead.

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