This series may be tied, and the Rangers are getting outplayed by the Devils. But the most alarming aspect of this series is in the form of the box score: Outside of Chris Kreider and Ruslan Fedotenko, no Ranger forward has a non-empty net goal. Kreider has three goals and Fedotenko has one. As for those empty netters, Artem Anisimov has one and Ryan Callahan has one.
The other goal scorers for the Rangers? Dan Girardi (2) and Marc Staal (1), both defensemen. In fact, only four players have scored a non-empty net goal for the Rangers. Just two players have had a multi goal series.
Alarmingly absent from this list: Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Carl Hagelin, and Michael Del Zotto, who have all been held scoreless. If you want to stick with non-empty net goals, add Cally and Anisimov to that list.
The Rangers will not win this series if they continue to get zero goals from the people in the above list. Anton Stralman saved them against Ottawa, Joel Ward saved them against Washington. The Rangers can’t keep relying on the opposition and fringe players to bail them out. At some point, the leaders of this team, the highest paid players, their skill guys, will need to step up and make something happen.
Richards was brought in for his playoff experience and leadership. He seems to have left his “clutchiness” in the Capitals series. Gaborik and Hagelin have been so quiet that you wonder if they are even playing. It’s disturbing how absent they have been. Even more disturbing is Gaborik’s benching in Game 2 after failing to clear the zone and it leading to a Devils goal.
The series is now a best of three, and this is where these guys need to shine. The Rangers have home ice, which means John Tortorella can match up his lines and get his top scorers out there in favorable matchups. But the coach can only do so much, it’s on the players to execute and deliver. They’ve taken the first four games off. Time to show up.