New York Rangers: The Absence of Scoring Is Killing the Blueshirts

David SpiegelContributor IFebruary 28, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 20:  Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on February 20, 2011 in New York City. The Flyers defeated the Rangers 4-2.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Goals do not come easy these days for the New York Rangers. Currently seventh in the East, the Rangers are 4-8 in February and are in the bottom half of the league in scoring for the month. They have looked more competitive lately though, taking more than 33 shots on goal per game in their last 11, but only scoring 2.55 goals per game in that stretch.

The Rangers finished 2010 in the top 10 in goals scored, but a miserable January and a subpar February have put them in danger of falling out of the playoffs.

The Blueshirts are really missing Marian Gaborik, who has missed 17 games so far this season, and has not played like himself when on the ice. Gaborik has only 38 points in the 47 games he has played in after having 86 points in 76 games just a season ago.

He has 17 goals, but 10 of those came in three games. Clearly he has not played at 100 percent this season, but the Rangers will need him to play close to it for a possible playoff run.

Brian Boyle currently leads the Rangers with 20 goals. His previous career high was four goals, which he tied last year in 71 games. He has been a huge asset for the Rangers, but there are better players that clearly are not playing up to their ability.

Ryan Callahan is only four goals behind Boyle, but has played 20 games less than him. Callahan has been the Rangers’ most consistent player while on the ice this season and leads the team in power play goals, something the team has been slacking in all season long.

Not far behind Callahan is Brandon Dubinsky. Dubinsky leads the team with 43 points, which unfortunately leaves him outside of the top 70 scorers in the league.

This is the big issue for the Rangers. They lack a consistent scorer on the team, or at least a healthy one. They failed to address this need by the trade deadline this afternoon. The failure to have a healthy scorer on the ice has cost the Rangers significantly. They can have games where they put up four or five goals, but can come out the next night and drop a goose egg.

This type of inconsistency is what could cause the Rangers to fall out of the playoffs. If they are able to keep it together and keep themselves in the playoffs, this spotty play could easily lead them to an early exit.

If Gaborik can return from his concussion soon, the Rangers will rely on him to carry the load the rest of the way. If Ryan Callahan can stay healthy as well, the Rangers have a pretty good one-two punch to get them into the playoffs.

With the new addition of veteran defenseman Bryan McCabe, the Rangers defense gains a huge boost to a group already led by Marc Staal, one of the top defensemen in the league. Staal and McCabe will play together for the first time on Tuesday. The presence of these two on the defense will be a huge boost for Henrik Lundqvist for the remainder of the season. Defense should not be an issue for the Rangers the rest of the way.