Rangers faced with an old challenge of too many quality chances against
The New York Rangers have lost their last three games, two of those in regulation. The past two games against the Winnipeg Jets and Detroit Red Wings have exposed some issues that the Rangers had overcome since the start of the season. With the playoffs in sight, the Rangers will have to ensure that these problems do not persist.
New York Rangers giving up too many chances
Earlier this season, the Rangers struggled with defensive lapses and even goaltending concerns. Against the Jets and Red Wings this week, sloppiness in the defensive zone returned. This was particularly clear against the Jets considering the Rangers largely dominated the game but still gave up four goals on too many good chances.
They have lost the last two games 4-1 and giving up four goals a night is simply not sustainable. This will be especially true in the playoffs when the games are more intense. Teams will be looking to give up as little as possible, so compensating for giving up more goals will be much more difficult. Of course, there is still plenty of time before the playoffs to sort out this problem.
“We’ve been a little too loose,” Ryan Lindgren said on Friday. “We’re just giving up too easy opportunities when if you’re in the right spot you’ll eliminate those. It seems like we’re giving up too many goals and too many chances these last couple of games.”
Additionally, Igor Shesterkin’s game has struggled in recent weeks. For example, he gave up four goals on 21 shots against Winnipeg on Monday night. This is uncharacteristic for Shesterkin who has generally been not only reliable for the Rangers, but the reason they have been able to stay in certain games. Shesterkin overcame a slump earlier this season, he and the Rangers need him to do so again.
Jaroslav Halak has been solid of late, but experienced similar trouble on Thursday night against Detroit, giving up four goals on 23 shots. Goaltending has not often been a problem for the Rangers, but these recent performances are raising concerns.
Need a 60 minute effort
Overall the Rangers dominated the game against Winnipeg, outshooting the Jets 51-21. They had plenty of activity in the offensive zone but were only able to get one past Connor Hellebuyck who was excellent.
The Rangers did not have the better of the play against Detroit, however. While they outshot the Red Wings 31-23, they couldn’t generate anything significant offensively. Many passes were not connecting, and they lacked a sense of urgency.
“Not good enough and we didn’t play hard enough for 60 minutes,” Gerard Gallant lamented. “What bothered me about it is some of those goals [Detroit] scored on the rush, we had bad reads and we left them wide open. It was unnecessary for me.”
Considering they have been experiencing bad starts to games, that energy should have been there. During the postgame, Steve Valiquette offered that Vitali Kravtsov and Jake Leschyshyn being scratched for “roster management” purposes may have presented a distraction.
As the team work on possibly acquiring Patrick Kane, the Rangers need to focus on the defensive details better.
This losing streak may be deflating, but the Rangers will have to find a way past it. All strong teams must face difficult stretches. The Rangers have proven that they are a playoff caliber team. They have the ability to recover from the last few games. So while some old issues may returned, there is no reason to panic at this point.
Note: All stats come from nhl.com
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