Rangers Defeat Jets 3-0: A Few Things to Take Away from the Game
The Broadway Blueshirts put on a generally positive performance, though there were a few things their game left to be desired.
Here, I put together a few bits and pieces to take away from the game as we head into the All-Star break and the second half of the season.
Brad Richards Hasn't Lost It Yet
A problem that many Rangers fans have been faced with as of late is Brad Richards' offensive slump.
After an impressive start to the season, many people felt he was truly a great addition to the team, and worth every penny of his contract.
A great veteran presence, and a playmaker on the ice, I appreciated having Richards on the team and I hoped he would climb out of his rut.
Tonight, Brad Richards finally planted one in the back of the net, and it was no stuff-in either.
I'm not trying to jump the gun, but I believe we've seen the worst of Richards' slump, and we will have him back in excellent form following the All-Star break.
The Power Play Is in Bad Shape
The Rangers were 0-4 on the power play against the Jets.
To be fair, Winnipeg did seem to have a pretty decent penalty kill squad, but come on, not one conversion?
Sadly, this has been a nagging problem for the Rangers all season.
As fans, we can hope that the problem finds a solution with a bit more practice, or maybe the addition of an established, play-making forward.
Until this problem is worked out, fans will have to keep struggling through the two-minute passing drills the Rangers enjoy putting on when they have the man advantage.
The Team Has Great Offensive Depth
John Mitchell has scored three goals in his last five games.
Ryan Callahan scored the first goal, coincidentally the game-winning goal.
Brad Richards also scored today.
Looking at those names, along with the spread of goals on the season, it's pretty clear that the Rangers are not the kind of team that rely on one or two offensive weapons to win games.
Though their offense has struggled as of late, the Rangers solid defense combined with scoring from players on varying lines makes the difference.
When the opponents can't look for a "top line" to shut down, to prevent offense, it becomes difficult for them to beat the Rangers.
Defense Is NOT an Issue
Dishing long passes.
What can't the Rangers defense do?
You can't say enough about how hard these guys have worked, filling in for Staal's absence in the beginning of the season, and even now, standing strong in the face of multiple injuries.
The only legitimate fear I have regarding the Rangers defense is this—who will be replaced once Sauer and Eminger make their respective returns?
Henrik Lundqvist Is a Tank
Can you think of a better word to describe the King?
He's an absolute monster between the pipes.
Henrik has been the key to the Rangers success for a long time, but this season he is playing on another level entirely.
I don't know if it's his confidence, or the fact that the talent around him is greatly increased, but he is having a great season.
He earned his most recent shutout against the Jets this evening, bringing his season total to five.
Piecing all of this information together, only one conclusion can be reached—the Rangers are going places this season.
I truly believe that with a bit of luck, consistency and some life in the power play, the New York Rangers are looking at a sufficient playoff run for this season at least, and maybe even more.
Here's to a successful All-Star break, and a (hopefully) satisfying remainder of the season for myself and my fellow Blueshirts.
Feel free to comment and get your own thoughts in!