New York Rangers Analysis: Looking Back And Looking Forward
The New York Rangers are 0-1-2, and many fans are already panicking. Still, it's important to remember that the first few games (especially when two of them are in a foreign country, and the other is a week after the first two) are not necessarily an indication of how the season will go. Joe has already given you reasons not to panic, but I'd like to offer some other thoughts.
If you're all going to panic, the Rangers are only two points out of eighth, with two games more to play than the Montreal Canadiens. The evidence sounds just as silly as the idea of panicking, in my opinion, but it's still evidence.
The patterns I have noticed through the first three games are that the Rangers have been out shot, the power play has been horrendous, and the Rangers have only one goal scored by a player other than Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, and Ryan Callahan.
Follow me for analysis on the problems, and how to fix them, after the jump.
When watching the Colorado Avalanche play the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, 8kpower and I noticed that both teams took advantage of shots off of rebounds to score important goals. It may seem obvious that the more you shoot the more you score, but the Rangers have not taken advantage of this yet. The Rangers have been out shot each of their three games so far, 30-26, 28-15, and 33-31. If you don't shoot, you can't score.
The Rangers power play has always been a concern, yet I am confident that the team will figure it out sooner rather than later. Brad Richards has already shown tons of talent even strength, and I expect the next display will be on the power play. As Tim Erixon and Michael Del Zotto's confidence increases, so will their power play production.
Finally, the lack of scoring production. Despite his fast start in the AHL, I doubt Kris Newbury will be the savior of the Rangers' offense. I'd like and I do expect to see more out of Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky on the Canada road trip. One suggestion I would make is to demote Eric Christensen and recall Carl Hagelin, who I am becoming increasingly impressed with.
The Rangers can't rely on Henrik Lundqvist every game. Hopefully on the Canada road trip, which consists of games vs. the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Winnipeg Jets, the Rangers go at least 2-1-1. If the Rangers want to give me a nice birthday present, they will destroy the Canucks tonight, at least!