New York Rangers' Offense Finally Balancing Out
The New York Rangers earned a tough-fought, cut-check victory Friday night, dominating the Florida Panthers for a 4-1 victory.
The two points gave the Rangers 50 on the season, and vaulted them back into first place in the Eastern Conference. In the Rangers' 36 games played so far this year they've scored 107 goals. Add while that's not a massive number -- the Vancouver Canucks have scored 128 in 38 games -- it's a far cry from last year.
The other difference? The balance of this new team.
Yes, Marian Gaborik has 22 goals this year (which is good for second in the NHL) but the secondary scoring has been there as well. Both Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards have 13 goals each, Derek Stepan has eight and both Artem Anisimov and Carl Hagelin have banged home seven.
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The Rangers are also getting offense from their blue line with Michael Del Zotto scoring five goals (and adding a team-high 17 assists as well), Ryan McDonagh scoring four goals and Dan Girardi adding three of his own.
In fact, it's so balanced that when one player slips another seems to take his place. When Richards went through his mini slump Gaborik started scoring. When neither was scoring early on, Callahan was scoring. Now that Callahan has cooled off a little, Brandon Dubinsky has started scoring.
When it seemed like no one was scoring to start the year, Girardi was shouldering the load. Now that Girardi's offense has cooled off, McDonagh and Del Zotto are adding the points.
Great teams have a balance of scoring, that's one of the main differences between a great team and a good team. The Rangers don't have a single line you can focus on to shut down. If you go power vs. power on the GAS line, then you're giving Richards, Callahan, Dubinsky and Hagelin more room. If you try to shut down Richards, then you have Gaborik, Stepan and Anisimov coming at you.
The Rangers have done things right so far this year on the offensive side of the puck. The results have shown in both the standings and the team's confidence.
Now they just have to keep the train moving in the right direction.