In the New York Rangers‘ past couple of games, first against the Washington Capitals and now against the New York Islanders, I have noticed a concerning trend that needs to be corrected as soon as possible.
Despite beating the Capitals 4-1, believe it or not, the Capitals had the puck in the Rangers’ zone for the majority of that game during 5 on 5 play and if it wasn’t for goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the game could have easily been a shootout. Against the Islanders last night, once again the majority of even strength was played in the Rangers’ zone. The Islanders were able to make the Rangers pay and ended up beating them 5-3.
In my opinion, the only reasons why the Rangers were able to beat the Capitals the other night was due to the Capitals making a ton of mistakes and committing tons of penalties, which lead to the Rangers capitalizing, no pun intended, on the powerplay. My theory is that the Rangers are getting too full of themselves and because their power play has improved a lot this year, and are currently ranked in the top 10 in the NHL, they are taking it easy at even strength and just depending on their powerplay to win them games. Amazing how one year can make such a difference in mindset.
As you know, this strategy is not one to live by and whether the Rangers realize this or not, this is what they have been doing over the past couple of games. If they continue down this path, they will erase all of the winning they have done over the past few weeks and sink back down to around the .500 mark and out of the playoff picture.