At the last update, the New York Rangers were coming off their 7 game, Magellan-inspired road trip. Over that span, they were outchanced most every night, and the team sputtered along. Since then, shots on goal have still been an issue, as Rob updated us on Monday. However, the scoring chances have trended up, as we see here:
|Opponent||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Aside from Ottawa, the Rangers have controlled the even strength scoring chances during each game of the winning streak, and many of the Senators chances that game came while the Rangers were protecting a lead in the 3rd period (hooray score effects!). Speaking of score effects, with the Rangers trailing for under a minute during the entire streak, for them to come out ahead is an even greater positive. The other key to the success lately has been to jump on teams early, which you can clearly see from the period breakdown:
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
A whopping 69% of the even strength chances, and 67% overall in the first period is a good way to manufacture success, especially for a team built on the back of goaltending and defense.
After the jump, the individual breakdowns.
|Even Strength||Power Play (5v4 only)|
*Players sorted by ES Ice Time. Tables are sortable by clicking the column headers.
In case there was any remaining doubt about where Marian Gaborik stood as a player, this should end it. Right now, he's just on another level compared to the rest of the team, averaging more than 8.5 chances per 60. For comparison's sake, keep in mind that over the last four seasons, NHL forwards average about 7.5 shots on goal total. Gaborik's averaging 6.95 chances just counting what goes on net.
Beyond Gaborik, most of the guys are still down compared to last season's totals, but there's clear improvement from the play on the road trip. Key players such as Brad RIchards, Ryan Callahan, and Artem Anisimov are all generating more chances for themselves, while Derek Stepan continues to be the Gaborik of scoring chance setups.
One of the biggest differences between those first 7 games and the team now comes from the contributions of the defense. As a whole, they've doubled the amount of plays they're contributing to while jumping in and converting at an excellent, if unsustainable rate. Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto are the obvious contributors, but the player that stands out most is Michael Sauer. Dan Girardi and McDonagh are getting all the publicity, but Sauer's return has been a big stabilizing force. Universally considered a defense-first guy, there he is 2nd in chances and just behind MDZ for 3rd in plays made on the D.
This time around, I also included the power play numbers. To no surprise, Gaborik laps the field there as well. What this does show is really how the PP has functioned. The play funnels through Stepan, Richards, and Del Zotto, with the goal of feeding Gaborik early and often. The player not mentioned from unit one is Callahan. To date, he hasn't contributed very much, generating fewer scoring chances for himself than he does at even strength. If the PP continues to be uninspiring, the captain may be a player to look at to switch, with the bigger body of Brian Boyle potentially a replacement.
Finally, we'll touch on chance type again, with the focus on just the 5v5 play.
|Even Man Rush/Transition||51||42||6||11.76%|
|Odd Man Rush||12||6||4||33.33%|
|Zone Entry Totals||67||51||11||16.42%|
|Defensive Zone Turnover||24||19||5||20.83%|
|Zone Pressure Totals||103||81||18||17.48%|
As I suspected may happen, the bigger sample, combined with the improved play, shows the focus of the Rangers under Tortorella is still generating offense from the forecheck. What was a 54.5% edge to zone pressure has ballooned to 60.5%. Expect that to continue if the Rangers continue to win games.
Any questions? Fire away in the comments.