The New York Rangers entered this season with legitimate Stanley Cup hopes. That’s what happens when you add a scorer like Rick Nash to a lineup that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the offense has yet to click and the Rangers are in danger of missing the playoffs altogether.
The Rangers will enter tonight’s matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes hoping to find an offensive groove after being outscored 9-2 in the last three games, all losses. The Rangers currently rank 27th in the NHL in goals per game with a meager 2.3 average, not exactly what Rangers’ fans were hoping for when they dreamed of Rick Nash joining Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards.
The Rangers are running out of time to get things figured out. It has to start tonight against the Hurricanes who currently hold the eighth seed in the East and sit three points ahead of the Rangers. A Loss tonight would put the Rangers five points out of the final spot which is just unacceptable.
In an effort to ignite the offense, John Tortarella has rearranged his lines once again. Nash has been reunited with Richards and Gaborik. The hope is to light a fire under Richards and the Rangers’ top two goal-scorers and hope the rest of the offense follows suit.
Gaborik has scored only one goal in the last 14 games. Richards has scored only four goals all season. In previous games that this unit was together it hasn’t produced and Tortarella shifted his playmakers around. Now, he has to lean on his top forwards to jumpstart the offense. It really is his only option at this point. Benchings haven’t worked, changing around the lines hasn’t worked and the Rangers are running out of time.
Tonight starts a brand new season for the Rangers. If they don’t beat the Hurricanes tonight and the New Jersey Devils tomorrow night, a game where Martin Brodeur will not be on the ice, then the season might very well be beyond their grasp.