One of the biggest reasons for the Rangers turnaround over the last month has been consistency with the forward pairings.
Since the Carcillo acquisition, Alain Vigneault has marched the same line combinations out onto the ice for nine straight games.
And it seemed to be working as the Rangers were 6-1-0 in the first seven of those games.
Unfortunately, they're 0-2-0 in their last two and have been held to just one goal in three of their last six.
Leading the way for the Rangers scoring problems are Mats Zuccarello (pointless in three straight), Derick Brassard (pointless in four straight, goalless in six straight), Ryan Callahan (one goal in his last seven), Carl Hagelin (pointless in five straight, goalless in eight straight) and Beniot Pouliot (pointless in four straight, goalless in 10 straight).
The secondary scoring that was carrying the Rangers at the end of December and into the new year has completely dried up and become dependent on Nash (five of the team's last eight goals) to provide the scoring.
They're not finding a way to generate offense when opponents take away their speed. They can't continue to be one-dimensional. If they're not finding room to skate, they need to start getting the puck deep and play a tough forechecking game. The Rangers have to learn how to grind out wins when defenses clamp down on them.
Now, I'm not saying AV needs to turn into John Tortorella and start picking line combinations out of a hat at the first sign of struggles, but if the Rangers have a tough time mustering up some offense in the two games at Yankee Stadium a change to the lines may be warranted.
The race in the Metropolitan Division has become too tight and the points too important to wait it out.
@TheNYRBlog players do struggle, but a lot of the time it’s just random variance. This sort of shows it.
This post is for Josh....and for all other shortsighted individuals......
"""Give me a break with this Islanders love... just cause the Rangers can't beat them doesnt mean they are good""""
It's not Islander love.....it's their coaching and style of play that I love. As Coach Capuano has stated time again..."for my team to compete...we have to HIT.....play with desperation...EVERY SHIFT". That's my kind of hockey...that's my kind of Coach. And if you start slacking off in the hitting department...Capuano will talk to you...if that doesn't work...he's not afraid to sit you. That my friends..is called ACCOUNTABILITY.
As for them making the playoffs Josh....they have to get Visnovsky and Hamonic back on the ice to stabilize their D corp. If they can get them both back relatively soon....they have a shot.
Now to address the shortsightedness issue......every Ranger fan...should be rooting for the Islanders...except when they play us of course..lol. But other than that.....everyone here should be rooting for Islanders to make the playoffs...as one of the wild cards.....preferably....the very last spot.
Start thinking with your heads....and not your hearts.
I think we can all agree that the Rangers are not a very physical club. So, playing a physical team in the playoffs...especially a skilled, physical team....will not go well for us. Two teams come to mind....the Penguins..and the Bruins. So, with the new format...today....if the Islanders grab that last wild card spot.....who would they play? The Penguins. If they grab the first wild card? The Bruins.
The Islanders gave the Penguins all they could handle last year....it was a very hard hitting series. Pens won in 6....and two of those games were won in OT. The Islanders came that close to picking them off. There is no love lost between those two teams. Both teams throwing vicious hits....every game....for 6 games. The Islanders....blasting away at Crosby at every opportunity.
So root for the Islanders to grab that last wild card. Best case scenario....long, physical series...and the Islanders pick them off. Or worst case...Islanders lose in 5 or 6.....but it will still be a physically draining series for the Pens.
For my Ranger squad....come playoff time....two teams I don't want us to play..the Bruins and the Pens....especially the Pens. I rightly consider them dangerous threats to the playoff aspirations of my Rangers....so they are my enemies.
The Isles hate the Pens......and that's why I want that first round match-up.
Because...."The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend"
We're bottom 10 in 5 on 5 goal margin, that needs to change if this team has any hope of making a run.
Move Hank to defense have him play deep in front of Cam. Tell Girardi the wrong starting time for the next game. Move Richards to the fifth line (shh there is no fifth line). Give AV stale juicy fruit so he's on edge. See ya at the parade!
@TheNYRBlog the MSG coverage of the practice is god awful. Mcdonagh was called brian twice. And, laviolette is on set!!
I think moving Zucc up with Cally and Ritchie would make a more balanced line and hags on with brass and poops could then be more of the energy style 3rd line.
I just think the 4th line has been a problem of late... Carcillo hasn't played with an edge in the last 2 or 3 games and they have been ineffective. I think the other two lines will hop out of it eventually.
@Herman_NYRBlog No doubt. I just picked the exact wrong time to call him out. Which is hysterical.
@McPhee37 - that makes perfect sense to me - and the Pens who were easily the most stacked team last year did not make it to the finals. Did the Isles wear them down? Slats and AV take notice please.
@NYrangers79 I don't think it would work. You can't have two play making players on the same line and we know that Richard and Zucc. are playmakers.
Hank's gotta start joining the rush. I know he's "defense first," but come on already he refuses to leave his own end.
@Not Callaqvist Don't forget to take away the estrogen pills from boyle so he can start using his size. Also get Stephan contacts so he can actually hit the net.
@Not CallaqvistI had to go to the emergency room for treatment after laughing too hard at this post...BRILLIANT!
@SmellyKisio No Sir Poops A Lot to the Bench when DDorsett comes Back
Ha...the 4th line is the problem eh? Well, maybe when we get a REAL 4th line....the problem will be fixed. Boulton, Cizikas, Martin....that''s a 4th line. I'll take that 4th line 6 days a week,,,,and twice on Sundays. And Cappy will roll that line out...even late in games.
Isles make the playoffs....with their D issues....like I said last year....Capuano...gets my vote for Coach of the year. He can coach my team any day.
@TheNYRBlog typical Kevin Hahaha
Don't forget what filthadelphia did the year before that - a gritty team with nothing to loose can be very dangerous. We lost our series to the devs in the first two rounds allowing inferior teams to take us to seven and wear us down.
Don't like Richey and Zucc together. Richey too slow and wont work well with Zucc IMO. However Zucc and Brass are both playmakers as well and have had some chemistry but have a more similar uptempo style. Too bad Step has lost his game this year so far. I think the only combos that will offer us sustained offense is through trade
Was thinking Stepan should get a popcorn and Pepsi caddy and then throw him out into the crowd so he can payback some of that holdout money
Any team that had the first overall pick for a decade straight should have some impressive young talent. ..it takes a real team to take ten 1st overall picks and still be .500!! Lol fishsticks
First of all I would make a gentelman's bet right now that the Islanders do not make the playoffs... I will guarantee it... No goaltending = no playoffs. Second, if anyone but Jon Cooper from Tampa wins coach of the year its rigged... look at what that team has done... WITHOUT STAMKOS!!! Give me a break with this Islanders love... just cause the Rangers can't beat them doesnt mean they are good
maybe with Poopsalot. That would make a great 3rd line. 2 physical wingers and a responsible Centerman. Problem is who are our top 2 line Centermen?