It seems as if the New York Rangers have lost all of their confidence and swagger. They are 30th overall in the NHL and nothing seems to be going their way. On Saturday, the Devils defeated the Rangers by a score of 3-2. Although that seems decent on paper, it was not good on the ice, and the Rangers dropped to 1-5.
The Pittsburgh Penguins come into this contest at 3-2-1 and are ranked 13th in the NHL. The reigning Stanley Cup champions most recently topped the Florida Panthers by a score of 4-3. The Penguins are loaded with offensive weapons, and it goes without saying that the New York Rangers will have their work cut out for them.
Keys to a Rangers victory:
- Against New Jersey, the Rangers were not cautious enough with the puck as they committed 16 turnovers through 60 minutes of play. On Drew Stafford’s goal at 1:00 of the third period, the Rangers had two defensemen in the middle of their defensive zone, effectively allowing Devils Defenseman Will Butcher to make a pass to an open Drew Stafford who scored on the breakaway. The Rangers need to stay patient with the puck and make sure they make the right play. They cannot have as many turnovers as they did against the Devils because the Penguins will make the Rangers pay.
- The Rangers have to score. The Rangers have scored 13 goals through 6 games and have conceded 21, with only eight Blueshirts having scored so far this season. Mika Zibanejad has scored five of their 13 goals, and the team cannot rely solely on him for its’ goal scoring. The Rangers have many players who can contribute offensively and they must start shooting the puck.
- Henrik Lundqvist has to play above average. Let’s face it, there is more scoring in the NHL now than there ever was, and we can expect goalie statistics to decrease because of it. Lundqvist has a GAA (goals against average) of 2.82 and his SV% (Save percentage) is .914. These numbers are not too bad. But while Henrik is mentally tough, he’s still human. If he loses his confidence and/or lets in multiple goals in a short period of time he does not play well. He needs to enter the game against Pittsburgh ready to stop shots in those high-scoring areas. Henrik’s numbers really depend on the defense in front of him, and if they play well he’ll play well.
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