New York Rangers’ Streaky Performances not Concerning
The New York Rangers have received their contributions in streaks this season. Whether it be Michael Grabner’s early season scoring tear or Chris Kreider’s recent explosion, players are taking turns providing the offense. Rather than being concerning, that is a good sign for New York.
After concerning New York Rangers fans with only 3 goals in his first 19 games, Chris Kreider scored four goals in his next five games. Kreider then went scoreless for a trio of contests, only to fully breakout following the mini-slump.
In his last six games, Kreider scored seven goals and two assists, leading the Rangers to high scoring wins. Kreider’s linemates have played to similar tunes. Derek Stepan also owns nine points in his last six games, scoring four goals and five assists. Mats Zuccarello has not found the back of the net, but he has tallied nine assists in the stretch, including at least one assist in every game.
New York’s 4-2 record in the six games would have been worse without the trio’s offensive outburst, causing some to question if the team became too reliant on three players. Instead, the numbers should inspire confidence.
The 2016-17 New York Rangers are built on forward depth and goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Raanta have done their part, leaving the forwards to do the rest. With the team’s bottom of the league defense holding them down, the forwards must pick up the slack. Thus, Jeff Gorton putting together four scoring lines.
Despite Pavel Buchnevich, Rick Nash, and Mika Zibanejad’s injuries, the Rangers have kept scoring. The scoring has come thanks to lines taking turns providing offensive sparks for the Rangers.
At the beginning of the season, it was Michael Grabner scoring 10 goals in 16 games, and 12 goals in 20 games. Grabner worked magic with Kevin Hayes (18 points in 20 games) and J.T. Miller (18 points in 20 games). The line was split up due to injuries, but their performance led the Rangers to a 14-5-1 start to the season.
The power-play has been no different for the Rangers. Early in the season, New York’s power-play was their bread and butter. The puck movement confused oppositions out of position, and the Rangers capitalized at rapid rates. However, teams began to adapt, and the Rangers went into a lull.
Before their recent stretch of 6-12 on the power-play, the Rangers slugged their way to a 1-14 streak. With the abundance of options on the power-play, it was only a matter of time for the Rangers to solve their woes. Opposing teams adapted, and the Rangers learned to adapt right back. While it would be ideal for the power-play to be perfect all the time, that is not realistic.
When the trio of injured forwards return, the streaking Rangers will only streak more. One trio of games it will be the first line that breaks out. Another it will be the second, and at some point one could expect Oscar Lindberg to find the net for a few games in a row. The way the Rangers are built, streaking is not only not concerning, but it is a positive sign.
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