Rangers inability to hold on to leads problematic

The New York Rangers are a young team playing in the toughest division in the NHL. There is a difference between an inexperienced young team and a struggling team, with the Blueshirts riding that very fence every night.

With another blown lead and consequential 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, this team is having a hard time balancing itself with so many different issues showing themselves from game to game.

Blowing leads past problematic

A 2-4-2 record over the first eight games finds the club sitting dead last in the East Division. The top four teams in each division will advance to the playoffs which was the goal when the season began. Their six points gained out of a possible 16 have the Rangers five points away from fourth place.

The points lost due to the leads that they’ve given up are beginning to take their tolls on a promising season. So far, David Quinn’s Rangers have led going into the third period five times. They have only won two of those games posting a 2-1-2 record in those five games.

Losing games can be contagious. One loss then turns to two losses which then turns to why cant the team play a consistent 60-minute hockey game?

Rangers Penguins
Rangers blow another lead (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Frustration mounting and showing

The frustration is beginning to crack this young team. Veteran Chris Kreider was in ill form following Saturday night’s loss to the Pens.

“It’s a recurring thing at this point,” Kreider said while stewing in his frustration. “We’ve shown what we can do in spurts. We understand what we need to do to be successful, and then they crank up the intensity a little bit in the third period there and all of a sudden we get away from it and start going east-west and not advancing zones.”

The exciting play of some of the team’s younger players has been overshadowed by the poor performances that some of the veterans have produced in the eight games to date.

Everyone seems to be squeezing their sticks a little too hard late in games and the results have been bad for the boys on Broadway.

Let’s take a look at what the team’s eight-game mini-report card looks like with only 48 games remaining in the shortened season.

We begin with the man behind the bench

David Quinn has been changing lines as quickly as the team has given up leads. His system of benching players when mistakes are made or when bad decisions lead to unnecessary penalties has players looking over their shoulders instead of looking ahead to get better, in my opinion.

Grade: D

Team success starts from between the pipes in the net, unfortunately, Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev have not played anywhere close to their potential.

Shesterkin is still looking for his first regulation win of the year and has not looked comfortable in net. In five game, Shesterkin has a 1-2-1 record with an .894 save percentage.

Georgiev has also struggled in net, giving ups the easy goal while he looks to play a complete game himself. He has a 1-2-1 record possessing am .886 save percentage.

They need to improve thiner game and start stealing some wins if the teams wants to get back to winning close hockey games.

Overall Grade: D

The Players: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Instead of breaking down each individual player, let’s place them into three groups. The good, bad and ugly.

The Good – This category could be also be called the great, most surprising or thank god you are here.

It is led by defenseman K’Andre Miller. The rookie has been one of the best players on the ice. He has shown great poise and confidence with the puck, incredible speed, and intense hockey sense.

KAndre Miller
K’Andre Miller has been awesome this season (Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images)

Filip Chytil, before his injury, is another player who has made a dramatic improvement this season and was about to take over the second center position before he was knocked out of the lineup.

Artemi Panarin, Pavel Buchnevich, Adam Fox, Kevin Rooney, Collin Blackwell, and Philip Di Giuseppe all fall into this category,

Grade: B+

The Bad – I’ll start with Alexis Lafreniere. Relax all, this kid is going to be great, he scored his First NHL goal with an OT winner last week and has been growing into the player he is expected to be. Quinn is the main reason he is in this group as he continually changes his linemates, position, and power-play opportunities. He will be in “The Great” category all by himself in a few weeks.

Chris Kreider plays a hard hockey game, but has not played at the level he reached last season. He wears his heart on his sleeve but has to find the consistency in producing points sooner rather than later for the team to have any success.

Jacob Trouba, Ryan Lindgren and Julian Gauthier are all hanging out here. Lindgren will bounce back, but he has found himself running around a little more than he did last season, it is a result of a mismatched defensive pairing situation the coaching staff continues to tinker with.

Grade: C+

The Ugly – This category begins with two struggling veterans. Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome are off to horrible starts. the two combines have scored three goals as both are performing poorly at the face-off dots.

Jack Johnson, Brendan Smith, Brett Howden have been non-factors for the majority of this season. The three play within the team’s biggest deficiencies, defense and center, and have to find a way to be more involved in games.

Editor’s Note: Tony DeAngelo has cleared waivers and unlikely to be a part of the team going forward.

Grade: D

The Rangers may be a young team, but they are loaded with talented veterans who have not played up to their potential. The season is young, but it is going by pretty fast with an unfavorable schedule standing in front of them.

This team needs to all get on the same page and buy into the team’s strategy. The rookies and young players will adapt to their new roles, but this team is lead by its veterans.

This club succeeds and fails by the progress of Zibanejad, Strome, Kreider, and Trouba.

Time to turn it around!

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