The New York Rangers have had a lot of issues at the start of this season. Their consistency, their battle level, the power play and general scoring have all been issues at one point or another. The Rangers have worked on all of them, fixed a bunch of them and are over .500 for the first time this season after Sunday night's 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
But another issue the Rangers have run into in the early-goings of this season is penalties. The Rangers have taken way too many penalties, and it's an issue John Tortorella and the coaching staff have worked on to resolve.
Well, Sunday night the Rangers took just two penalties, which is why the number four is so important. The Rangers only had to kill four minutes of penalties last night, and it helped not only keep momentum in their favor but also allow them to dominate the puck possession battle.
Penalties can be a killer, especially against a team with so many weapons as the Tampa Bay Lightning. It cost the Rangers in losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins earlier in the year, and it might hav cost the Rangers Sunday as well. We'll never know, though, because the Rangers stayed out of the box.
It also helps keep players like Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik off the ice during penalty kills. That goes a long way in keeping those players fresh not only for the game itself but also for the season.
Let's hope that continues.