Can everybody just take a deep breath?
Yes, 3-4-0 is not the way you want to start a season, but give the Rangers some slack. They have had to begin their year with six games against three teams in the top-five in the Eastern Conference.
New York played the Bruins, Flyers and Penguins twice with a contest versus the Maple Leafs in between.
Now, this isn’t to say that the Blueshirts don’t have areas to work on. Their offense has been bordering on putrid. The power play has been absolutely abysmal and they can’t score five-on-five either. This season, with the man advantage, the Rangers are 3-28. That’s 10.7% and tied for 26th in the league. For some perspective, last season, a 10.7% conversion rate would have been 2.8% worse than the last in the league. Now that’s horrible.
New York has also averaged 2.29 goals per game; 22nd in the league. Last season the L.A. Kings also tallied 2.29 goals per game. They were 29th overall.
With the shortened season, there will be no inter-conference games in the NHL and teams will play everyone in their division at least four times. That is bad news for the Blueshirts because three of the four teams in their division that they will be facing, made the playoffs last year.
That might seem like a good enough reason to worry, but the Rangers had to that last year as well. They had to play the Devils, Penguins and Flyers plenty of times and went a combined 11-6-1 against them. Once they get their chemistry back and get some rhythm in their power play and in regular offensive sets, they will return to being a force in the Eastern Conference. And in case you need some stats to get a positive outlook, I’ve provided some.
Just to make sure nobody has forgotten, Henrik Lundqvist is still playing on Broadway. The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner accumulated a 1.97 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage last season; both were in the top-5 in the league. As a team, the Blueshirts only allowed 2.22 goals per game and were +39 in goal differential. Plus, they added a player who is a perennial 30-goal scorer in Rick Nash who has already made a big impact on offense. Nash is the skill player that the Rangers have been missing since Jaromir Jagr left after the ‘07-’08 season. He should be able to help the power play and get the “easy goals” that it seemed the Rangers lacked the ability to obtain last season.
So, to sum up, don’t get frustrated Ranger fans. There are still 42 games left to play, with plenty being against the likes of the Panthers, Jets, Hurricanes, and Canadiens. If we’re sitting at 6-13 after February 28th, then you can push the panic button and get nervous. But until then, just enjoy the fact that you have a team who is a Stanley Cup contender.