The New York Rangers have been one of the most mysterious teams in the NHL thus far. They have tons of talented forwards, ferocious defensemen, and one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. But why aren’t they producing the way everyone expects them to? Is it coaching? Do the lines need to be mixed up? Is it motivation? It could be all three.
Henrik Lundqvist has been playing just short of awful in these past few weeks. He has been pulled at least three times, and in those games, the goaltender has let up 5 plus goals to the opposition. New York has been losing even when they score more than 4 goals and for this team, it is just unacceptable. As a fan, it is extremely frustrating to watch, but as a player, I could only imagine that spirits are at a season low in the Rangers’ locker room.
Players are noticeably frustrated out on the ice, and it is affecting their play. It is easy to speculate that something needs to be done, but exactly what needs to be done is the big question. With Derek Stepan returning to the lineup, they now have two lines that are legitimate scoring threats each and every time they take the ice. Chris Kreider hasn’t been the Kreider we are used to seeing, but he just needs a couple of bounces to go his way and his confidence should skyrocket.
The Blueshirts’ defense is a bit make-shift for the time being as Kevin Klein is practicing and will hopefully be in the lineup within a game or two. The return of Klein will balance the backline, which will help out the goaltender. As crazy as it’s been, Dan Boyle has revitalized his career, scoring on power-plays as well as in shootouts.
I cannot explain the conundrum that is the New York Rangers, but I believe that Alain Vigneault will figure it all out. Lundquist might need to sit out a few games. The lineups may need to be switched in hopes of creating a spark. Health may be this team’s biggest concern. Whatever the issue is needs to be corrected so that the team from Madison Square Garden can get back to their winning ways.