Rangers finally get blanked after continuous no-show performances from top players (WSH 1 v NYR 0)
1.875! That’s the average number of Goals For scored by the New York Rangers in 8 playoff games so far. It’s time to stop pointing fingers at Tanner Glass, a 4th liner who has done his job. Stop looking to blame Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle for any defensive lapses when the team has only given up 1.62 Goals Against. No, it’s high time we look at Rick Nash, Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis who have a combined 3 goals among them.
In contrast, Derick Brassard, Carl Hagelin and Jesper Fast have 7 goals this postseason. The only reason why I’m using them as a comparison is because they aren’t supposed to be our 3 best offensive players. Brassard is listed as number 2 behind Stepan on the Rangers depth chart at center, while Hagelin and Fast are 3rd and 4th liners compared to Nash and MSL who are supposed to be our best players.
The Rangers now find themselves down 2-1 in their 2nd round series to a very rough, and defensive minded Capitals team. They lost last night because they couldn’t win a draw to save their lives (18/58), had a lucky goal by Jay Beagle bounce off of Yandle and Henrik Lundqvist go against them, and because their 3 best players can’t get it done.
Derek Stepan: He has 2 goals and 2 assists but has only found the scoresheet in 3 games this post season. Three of those points came against the Penguins and he has only one assist so far against the Capitals. Instead of getting better as the playoffs have progressed, he’s actually getting worse.
As the team’s number 1 center, his passing against the Caps is leaving a lot to be desired, especially on the power play. He is literally telegraphing them by holding the puck too long and staring his target down. He’s committed 4 giveaways so far in three games and needs to elevate his play tremendously.
Rick Nash: Yes, just a day after I applauded Nash for getting into the dirty areas of the ice in the game 2 win, I have to get on him for another perimeter performance. Listen, I appreciate all the other things he does that most of the media is highlighting recently, but the Rangers need goals. During the season he had 42 of them, so are we supposed to pretend it didn’t happen? He needs to fight his way to the front and get the job done.
Nash has 14 shots on goal in this round and zero goals. Yesterday he took half of those shots and was in essence playing catch with Braden Holtby with all but one from in front (far right). In game two (middle), he was in the Kill Zone on all 4 of his shots and caused the screen on Dan Boyle’s PP tally. From here on out, we want more game 2 performances and less games 1 and 3. Nash is simply ineffective from the perimeter in the playoffs.
Martin St. Louis: Seriously, is he injured? I’m not stating that to be condescending but he is playing that way. We need to remember that MSL hurt his knee late in the regular season and hasn’t looked very good since. If he is still having lingering effects to that knee, it could be impacting his ability to find that explosive speed he relies on.
Perfect example, Brook Orpik caught up to him last night on a breakaway. Do we need more evidence that something could be up? If he isn’t injured, then his age didn’t just sneak up on him, it ambushed him out of nowhere.
A quick look at his shot chart for the 2015 playoffs shows only 19 shots taken by MSL. That’s a hair over 2 shots a game and just isn’t going to get it done. Somehow, Marty is needs to find another gear and get his average up to over 3 shots a game. This can be easily accomplished if he would use his shot from the right circle on the PP instead of looking to pass it like the rest of his teammates.
Bottom line here is simple, the Rangers need more from their three best players. Even Esa Tikkanen from his couch in Finland can see that and he called them out today. You can read that story here.
No more no shows on the scoresheet from these three Rangers can be had. If they continue to not show up in the box scores then there won’t be many more boxscores for the Rangers to look at this postseason.
Highlights & interviews