Nearly three weeks ago I wrote a post explaining that the Rangers needed to pick up their play. Now, if we stick only to wins and losses, the Rangers have certainly done just that. Certain players have played better, this I will touch on, but unfortunately the team as a whole is winning by using smoke and mirrors (a well-said term by George). Here's the chart, explanation after the jump.
I was as pumped as anyone when Avery went bar-down the other night, but looking at this chart makes me worry, a lot. Besides the goaltending being top-notch, somehow the Rangers have found a way to take the fewest amount of 5v5 shots (slightly more than the last post - but still good for 30th in the league) all while giving up a ton of 5v5 shots and scoring a good amount of 5v5 goals. This is a bad mixture, especially because the goaltending will probably see a hiccup or two eventually.
So then I thought, well maybe the PowerPlay is why they're scoring, but nope. 21st overall in PP% and, even worse, 27th in 5v4 SF/60 and a slightly below average 19th 5v4 Shot%. The Rangers, are indeed, winning with smoke and mirrors. I believe they can play a better, more consistent game, and I hope they find it real soon - because I feel bad for the backs of Lundqvist and Biron already.
Here are some player notes:
- Ryan McDonagh is emulating Marc Staal - fantastic stuff
- Torts is finally playing Christensen in his correct role: a shootout specialist with minimal supportive minutes
- I also like how Torts is matching up Gaborik successfully against some lower competition
- Artem Anisimov - as discussed recently - is still the jack of all trades so far this season
- Derek Stepan is holding his own in the top six and playing against top six competition. I still expect a dip eventually, but he's a beauty.
To wrap things up: I think we should all be happy the Rangers have stolen some points through 15 contests, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
[Note by Rob L, 11/15/11 3:38 PM EST ] If you're just reading this now, I apologize for one thing; the 5v5 Shooting % on the chart. I had them at 28th, when infact they were 3rd. While this doesn't change the stats I based everything off of (meaning I still stand by all my claims) - I messed up the sorting on behindthenet.ca and didn't even realize this (I wrote that part at work... whoops). I apologize, but if you're reading this now its all fixed.