The Rangers just hit the mid point of their season and all signs indicate the team shouldn’t struggle too much to get a playoff spot. But if they want to be the best team in the east after game 82 of the regular season, they are going to have to improve/do certain things. The team of late has been excellent but if they want to keep up with teams like the Bruins and Flyers, they’re going to need to play a much stronger game.
Through 41 games this year I think everyone is pleased with how the Rangers have done. They’re atop the Eastern Conference and won the Winter Classic, which will be shown on MSG Network for the next 100 years. Saying it’s been a good year for the Rangers so far is an understatement. It’s been a great year so far, but it’s January and not June. Dave Lozo pointed out today that this is the latest the Rangers have been first in the East this late in the season since 1995-96. While that’s all nice and everything it won’t mean anything without a nice playoff run.
Read more to read about what the 3 things are the Rangers need to do for the second half of the year.
Improve The Power Play- That shouldn’t really come off as surprising as one of the things right? I mean the Rangers have plenty of good players to be able to run a good power play. The Rangers are 22nd in the league in terms of Power Play Percentage. That’s horrific. The Rangers haven’t had a good Power Play since the Jagr days and that falls on the coaching staff. I’m not going to talk strategy on the PP but I think if the Rangers could acquire or a defenseman with a heavy shot from the point, it could go a long way.
Get Another Forward At The Deadline- In my mind the Rangers are still one forward short of getting to the next level. I advocated for Shane Doan a couple of days ago and I still stand by that option. Ryan Smyth is another guy I like but he could cost a bit too much and he also has a NMC. If Montreal is still out of it by the deadline and are looking for something in return Andrei Kostitsyn could be a good option also. There are plenty of good options out there at the deadline for the Rangers, it’s just up to Sather to make a decision on what’s best for the club now and in the future.
Play The Worse Teams In The League Better- One of the few gripes I have with the club this year is that they play the elite teams in the league so well, but yet struggle against weaker teams. It’s kind of baffling to me that the Rangers have lost only one divisional game this year but yet are 0-2 against Toronto. That is a team Boston beat four times. One of the few fears I have for the Rangers is that they get matched up with a team in the first round of the playoffs that they should beat and are ousted in a weak series. The Rangers have to learn when they play weaker teams to not play to the other team’s game. They have to continue with their system at all costs. One of the reasons why I think the Rangers lost to the Senators last night was because the Senators were playing a trap game, and the Rangers were simply deterred to try to play against the trap.
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