There are a couple of things the New York Rangers focused on when speaking to the media at yesterday’s practice. Their battle level, consistency and secondary scoring. Right now, I would say the biggest issue is the secondary scoring.
“I think all players go through that, confidence is a big thing,” Tortorella said. “It’s something that we always about, the even keel. The situation with a number of our players, that’s very important right now. It doesn’t matter how old you are, everybody goes through that. An athlete can’t do the things he wants to do unless he feels good about himself so that’s something a number of them are going through right now.”
The point there is pretty simple: Players not named Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards need to put the puck into the net. Throw Michael Del Zotto into that category too. Aside from those four players the Rangers have gotten goals from three other places: Taylor Pyatt (three goals), Ryan Callahan (two goals) and Marc Staal (one goal).
Carl Hagelin (completely scoreless) and Derek Stepan (four assists) have had their chances, but haven’t been able to put the puck into the back of the net. The frustration level for Hagelin is starting to show. He needs to bury one fo those chances eventually. Same thing for Stepan, although I’m sure having a couple of apples under his belt is helping ease his mind a little. Chris Kreider has also been held scoreless, but he’s only played in three games.
The solution? More scoring from all around. Tortorella tried to split up Nash, Gaborik and Richards, moving Nash to Stepan’s line against the Penguins, to no avail. Tortorella tried moving Dan Girardi, Anton Stralman, Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal to the point on the power play. Nothing. Although Stralman did hit the post against Pittsburgh.
My not panic point of all of this? It’s not like the Rangers aren’t getting chances. They are, they just haven’t been able to bury them. Once those pucks start going in everything will start to click.
It’s just a matter of when that actually happens. Tonight seems good.