New York Rangers still searching for consistency in their game
The New York Rangers put on a third period performance against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night to snap their three-game losing streak in which they were 0-2-1. Their 8-2 win over the Red Wings could boost their confidence and get them back on track for good this season.
Up to this point, it is unclear whether the Rangers are the successful team they appeared to be in the first few games or the struggling team they have been of late. Finding their identity and consistency is key to returning to contender status.
“Six goals in a period is obviously great, but I’m more happy that we played so well for 60 minutes,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “We played really good hockey for the first two periods, but the pucks didn’t start going in until the third.”NHL.com
New York Rangers: Finesse, grit, or both?
Offense seems to come and go for the Rangers this season, but when it’s there the team looks unstoppable. They have also proven to be a physical team, currently ranking second in the league in hits with 449.
Both crafty offensive skill and grit are present on this roster, but they have to find a balance. Too often, the Rangers over pass and look for the perfect play instead of getting a flurry of shots to the net. But on Thursday against Detroit, that was not the case. They were more willing to go to the critical areas and get gritty goals.
Chris Kreider returned to his role as a net-front presence, scoring on a tip-in. Mika Zibanejad drove to the net to score his second of the night despite being heavily defended. Julien Gauthier and Jimmy Vesey were also hard on the puck and able to get to the critical areas to score each of their goals.
To win in the NHL, teams need a mix of finesse and grit. That is what the Rangers demonstrated against the Red Wings. They will need to continue to implement both elements going forward on a consistent basis. Getting contributions from up and down the lineup prove they have depth. Everyone has to come ready to put on pressure and go to the net every night.
“We put people at the net and they got opportunities,” Gallant said in Detroit. “It’s all about team. We talk about 23 guys on your roster and it makes the coach feel good when you see different guys scoring that don’t every night.”
Consistency is key
On Tuesday night against the New York Islanders, the Rangers came out with speed and pressure but gave up a goal to Kyle Palmieri which shifted momentum in the Islanders’ favor. The Rangers were able to take back control and go up 3-1. They also outshot the Islanders 40-26. However, in the third period the Islanders were the team in control, and the Rangers were unable to protect their lead.
Shifts in momentum will always happen during games, but to suffer defenses lapses presents a problem. In the case of Tuesday night, that meant blowing a lead. But against Detroit on Thursday, the Rangers were stronger in both the offensive and defensive zones for the entire time.
Pressure between the two teams was fairly even for the first two periods, but the Rangers were clearly able to take control in the third to put up six of their eight goals. Scoring eight goals is certainly not the norm, but it provided a glimpse of what the Rangers are truly capable of when they all contribute and make a consistent effort.
“It was good obviously, especially with the last game,” Mika Zibanejad said after the win in Detroit. “We really played a full 60 tonight.”
Consistency over a full 60 minutes every game is the key.
Note: All stats come from nhl.com.
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