Rangers could use the 10 second memory of a goldfish

NHL: New York Rangers at Vegas Golden Knights
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

“You know what the happiest animal on Earth is? It’s a goldfish. It has a 10-second memory. Be a goldfish.”

That’s a line from Ted Lasso, a fictional television show about soccer on AppleTV. But it applies to everyday life and it certainly applies to this version of the New York Rangers.

After the team’s roaring start to the season, in which they got out to an 18-4-1 record through the first 23 games, the Rangers have been unable to find whatever spark was lit under them at the beginning of the year. A 10-10-1 record since December 5th now sees a once eight-point lead in the standings dwindle to just two in a little over a month.

Related: Rangers defensive lapses a serious issues

Rangers need to stop giving up goals in bunches

NHL: New York Rangers at Vegas Golden Knights
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

There are a multitude of reasons as to why the Rangers have struggled, but the focus here will just be on one of the major issues. The Blueshirts inability to flush mistakes and let one mistake beat them multiple times.

“It’s been a trend since the first loss of the year,” said Jonny Lazarus of the Daily Faceoff.

This issue has followed the team all season, but with the team winning games, it was masked. Starting from December 5th, the Rangers have surrendered 11 instances where they allow multiple goals within three minutes of each other, excluding empty net goals. While that number does not jump off the page, that’s 17% of the teams’ goals allowed during that stretch coming in quick succession.

“It seemed like when it first started happening, they were playing very well and sound defensively but when something went wrong it just triggered the whole group and went downhill Lazarus told Forever Blueshirts. “A majority of their losses haven’t been close games. When they lose it gets bad quick.”

Let’s take a look at the season as a whole. Over the team’s 44 games, New York has allowed 20 occasions in which they’re scored on multiple times in three minutes, excluding empty net goals. That is 17% of all goals allowed this season coming in short order. Shrinking that time between goals to two minutes, and the Rangers have allowed nine such cases or 8% of all goals allowed. Finally, the ones that are the biggest backbreakers, goals within 30 seconds of each other. New York has given up goals within 30 seconds of each other seven times with the most recent occurrence being Thursday night in Vegas.

“Those first two goals are backbreakers. The team is playing well, they’re buzzing in the offensive zone, they don’t score and they need their goalie to keep their confidence up. That’s the worst feeling” Lazarus said, mentioning that it’s a momentum zapper to players on the ice at times.

It’s also not just one goalie that is at fault during these avalanches of goals. Of the 20 times this season, Igor Shesterkin has been in net for 10 and Jonathan Quick has been in net for 10.

New York has been victimized by this trend as of late. Since the start of the new year, which is nine games, the Rangers have allowed goals within three minutes of each other in five of the games.

This problem may not just be one that the Rangers are having this season. Earlier this week, in a game between the LA Kings and Dallas Stars, Dallas put three goals past Kings netminder Cam Talbot in a matter of 3:44.

“The Devils have done the same thing most of the season. It usually snowballs; it’s rarely just one goal” tweeted Daniel Amoia who covers the team for the Hockey Writers. New Jersey has been guilty of giving up goals within three minutes of each other 17 times this season.

Then look at a team like Carolina. Under head coach Rod Brind’Amour, they have been the measuring stick for success in the Metropolitan Division for the better part of a half-decade defensively. This season, they’ve also allowed 17 instances of goals within three minutes of each other.

The easy answer is that this team is putrid against the rush. When teams score a goal, their confidence is as high as it can get, and nine times out of ten, are looking for another. And for a team that doesn’t handle the rush well, it can cause quick goals.

“As much as people like to blame the defense, and granted the defense has been a little bit soft, the whole issue about goals against the rush is the forwards,” Lazarus said. “ All the forwards are backtracking. You have to have a good F3 in the zone and your F3 can’t go on the offensive side of the puck. You have to stay on the defensive side.

There’s a great quote from legendary NFL head coach Bill Parcells; “You are what your record says you are.” And through the first half of the 2023-24 season, the Rangers record at defending the rush is not particularly good. This makes it hard to believe that this team can right this issue going forward, but as the great Chris Berman always says, “That’s why you play the games.”

Steven Pappas is a North Jersey native who works as a news anchor and reporter at WHAM-13 in Rochester,... More about Steven Pappas

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