…I have taken the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference-Robert Frost
Recent talk amongst New York Rangers fans has been the avoidance of a particular team in the first round of the playoffs, specifically the Boston Bruins. This is primarily in response to the team’s poor showing last weekend. In that game, fans witnessed first-hand why the Bruins are who they are.
Honestly, the Rangers did not look awful enough to be out of the Bruins’ league. Sure, it was deflating and embarrassing as a fan to see them go down by three goals in the first period. However, those could have easily gone the other way. The defense was not sound, looking confused and flat-footed at times. That can be attributed to the team they were playing. They weren’t just some pushover team the Rangers could have their way with.
No, these were the big, bad Bruins whom we have grown accustomed to seeing as one of those measuring-stick teams.
But, I believe it would have been more competitive if they did not shoot themselves in the foot. And when I mean shoot themselves in the foot, I am referring to turnovers.
TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS
We know the ‘bread and butter’ of the Rangers offense is their speed. When they are able to make their opponent giveaway the puck, they win. It’s that simple. They are able to utilize to make the ice tilt in the other direction at a moment’s notice. Those games they win, their turnover numbers are less than double digits.
From March 15th to the 22nd, the Rangers committed less turnovers then their opposition, except for one game:
-Vs. Florida Panthers: 9 to their 9
-Vs. Chicago Blackhawks: 17 to their 7
-Vs. Carolina Hurricanes: 7 to their 14
-Vs. Anaheim Ducks: 8 to their 9
They’re record during those four games was 3-1, with the Rangers committing less turnovesr than their opponents, 31 to 39.
From March 24th to the 29th, it’s a different story:
-Vs. Los Angeles Kings: 12 to their 4
-Vs. Ottawa Senators: 6 to their 16
-Vs. Boston Bruins: 10 to their 7
-Vs. Washington Capitals: 8 to their 4
Rangers record was 1-3, having committed more turnovers than their opponents, 36-31.
New York Rangers
It’s not a fancy stat, by any means. But it is a telling one.
Basically, the team has gotten in trouble by giving away the puck more. When they do, they lose most of the time. However, if they keep give it away less, then they are more likely to win.
I wanted to point this little nugget out because we have seen the team play at their best. It wasn’t by accident the team is where they are in the standings of both the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. If they are able to keep better control of the puck, then, I feel they can play with anyone.
They’ve beaten teams like the Bruins, New York Islanders, Washington Capitals, and Pittsburgh Penguins this season. Either one could meet the Rangers in the first round, depending on how the regular season plays out.
But whatever team that is, bring it on. That’s the great thing about hockey: anyone can beat anyone, on any given night. In the playoffs, you are playing the best teams in that season. There is no way around it.
How else are you supposes to get better if you take the easy way out and don’t challenge yourself? The whole notion of ‘tanking’, or purposely not wanting to finish in a certain position is all a bit ridiculous.
As former Jets coach Herm Edwards once said: “Hello…You play to win the game.”
If the Rangers play to their strengths and minimize their mistakes these last remaining games, I’d expect a another deep run in the post season.
More from Blue Line Station
- Blake Wheeler’s Broadway Calling: Why He Chose the Rangers
- Rangers’ Playoff Redemption Recipe: Grit and Fresh Hopes
- Rangers’ Roster Chatter: Who’s Making the Cut and Who’s in the Penalty Box?
- Jacque Plante Trade Tree Between the Rangers and Canadiens
- These Rangers must learn Peter Laviolette’s ropes before they can fly