New York Rangers need a hero to rise in postseason

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After the first two games against the New Jersey Devils, identical 5-1 wins, the New York Rangers seemed to be set up for success. However, the Devils have come back to win three straight.

The Rangers now find themselves down three games to two, facing elimination on Saturday night.

This team needs a hero to rise and lead them on offense.

Scoring a major struggle for New York Rangers

new york rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers outscored the Devils by a 10-2 margin in each the first two games of the series. As expected, the Devils came back with a strong defensive response. However, the Rangers have not been able to compensate. They scored just one goal in game three, one in game four, and were shut out in game five.

One glaring issue here is the lack of production from the top six forwards. Chris Kreider had the Rangers’ goal in game three and Vincent Trocheck had the goal in game four. However, this is clearly not enough. If the Rangers are going to stay in it, the top six will have to step up on Saturday. Their recent lack of production leads to the question of whether some players may be dealing with injuries.

Additionally, while the Rangers outshot the Devils 36-28 in game three and shots were even at 23 in game four, the Devils outshot the Rangers 43-23 in game five. That is a significant discrepancy. This speaks to the Rangers’ difficulty to sustain offensive zone pressure. Further, a trend through games three, four, and five has been missing the net far too often. Overall, the Rangers must come out with a sense of urgency on Saturday which is something that was missing from game five.

Rangers need a hero Saturday

Despite the Devils’ improvement on defense, the Rangers are going to have to find a way to sustain pressure in the offensive zone and get quality shots. The power play was a significant strength for them in the first two games, but they have not scored a power play goal in any of the previous three games. Capitalizing on the power play will also be key for the Rangers to extend their season.

With their season in jeopardy, the Rangers must play with urgency and determination. In the first two games, they proved they can compete with the Devils. Now, they must return to the kind of play that made them so successful then.

It’s time for a hero to step up for the Blueshirts.

Who will it be? Two possible candidates are players that have struggled to do anything offensively to date. Artemi Panarin (92 points) and Mika Zibanejad (91 points) were the team’s top scorers during the regular-season.

“I think we’re trying to do it all in one play,” Zibanejad said. “When that happens, then I think we might wait for someone else to do it. We’ve got to get back to playing the way we played all year. We’ve got to trust ourselves.”

It’s time for somebody to put on a red cape and soar on the scoresheet to keep the Rangers’ Cup hopes alive.

Note: All stats come from nhl.com