3 significant X-Factors that will make or break the rest of the Rangers season

The New York Rangers continue to roll as we are now firmly entrenched in the most important stretch of the season, but there are still X-Factors that will make or break them.

Feb 18, 2024; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93)
Feb 18, 2024; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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New York’s 5-on-5 play isn’t as strong as it should be

When you look at the Rangers statistics compared to the rest of the league, they are predictably stellar, with 75 points compared to the NHL average of 61, 184 goals for, and just 154 allowed are a few of many outstanding stat lines we can point to. But if this team wants to maximize its chances of a top seed beyond just improving its goaltending, they need to start dominating at 5-on-5. 

Their overall shooting and save percentage is a hair under the NHL average; ditto for their expected and actual goals for, which sit at 112.1 and 112, respectively, over the averages of 111.6 and 110. New York’s defense is playing well enough to sit a few expected goals better than the league average, with an xGA of 107.9. But as implied previously, their inconsistent goaltenders have allowed 112 through February 19th, two above the league average of 110. 

The same goes for their overall Corsi For Percentage, Scoring Chances For Percentage, and High-Danger Chances For Percentage, with each of which falling between 49.8 and 51.5 percent. Not bad numbers, but a team of the Rangers caliber must show they can put up more than just solid, but unspectacular play in all situations, especially down the stretch.