A rare feat: The Rangers have been both bad and unlucky

Photo: Getty

One of the common discussions you’ll see here at BSB is the discussion about luck masking poor play, and poor luck masking good play. Generally speaking, teams that have a PDO (SV%+SH%) over 100, then the team is lucky. It’s a general rule, as skilled teams are generally over 100, especially teams with elite goaltending. There’s credence to the “create your own luck” argument, but abnormally high/low PDOs generally balance out.

That’s why xGF% is used to determine how well a team is actually playing. It takes the quality and quantity of shots taken/allowed and turns it into a stat that is usable. Generally speaking, a higher xGF% means you’re playing well. A team with a high xGF% and a poor record usually has some poor luck, and vice versa. It is rare to see a team that is both bad (xGF%) and unlucky (PDO), but the Rangers managed to do just that.

Warning: Small sample size.

Here’s how the Rangers look in PDO. They are shooting just over 4% as a team, down from the 8% they shot last year. That will eventually change as people other than Mika Zibanejad begin to score. Puck luck, in the form of shooting percentage, certainly played a role in the loss to Colorado, a game in which they controlled xGF%, but still lost because of defensive breakdowns.

So now that we’ve established that the Rangers are on the unlucky side of the PDO equation, we can look into how their on-ice process has been (hint: bad). There’s no chart for xGF%, but the Rangers are the 7th-worst team in this category at 46.46%, meaning they are only expected to get 46% of the goal share on any given night.

For something you might be familiar with, here is a visual of the shot rates (Corsi For/Against). Here again we see the Rangers are in the “bad” category. They are allowing a ton of shots (of high quality, to boot) and not taking many either. All in all, bad process.

There is plenty of blame to go around for the 1-5 start to the season. Jeff Gorton left the team with a gaping hole at center. Alain Vigneault has been alarmingly opaque in explaining his roster decisions. The players seem a little lost and lethargic. But on the bright side Henrik Lundqvist has looked good.

The Rangers are too good to be this bad. Their SH% will climb out of the cellar, and we will see more wins come. As mentioned above, poor shooting luck has certainly accounted for at least one loss. The problem is that the on-ice process has been exceptionally poor. Blame whomever you wish, but the team needs to turn that around. There are many different ways to do so, so pick one and do it.

You can’t make the playoffs in October. However you can certainly miss them. In the tough Metro Division, the Rangers have dug themselves a deep hole. Can they climb out?

43 thoughts on “A rare feat: The Rangers have been both bad and unlucky

  • Oct 16, 2017 at 6:39 am

    Stop shooting the puck into the goalie’s stomach and crash the net to get rebounds/2nd chances and the shooting % will go up.

    NHL goalies have gotten so good that even backups will stop shots they can see even if it’s a breakaway.

    BTW,the eye test is not dead yet, the quality chances at both ends of the ice is what I have thought for a long time.

  • Oct 16, 2017 at 6:41 am

    ok, this comment is being moderated again. Am I on the “watch list?” lol

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      No, a majority of my posts lately have been held in purgatory for a good while.

      • Oct 16, 2017 at 7:05 pm

        ok thanks Chris, another post is being held up and it’s like the 4th time in a row.

        Maybe they think we’re in cohoots, lol.

  • Oct 16, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Can they climb out? Sure. Will they? Hmmmm
    I am an AV supporter, but I think he lost the locker room. The team has many breakdowns and no on-ice player is putting the team on his back and forcing a win. McD is going through the motions. Where is Zucc? 7 defenseman, really? AV must not like his roster and he is showing it. Gorton needs to fix this by November 15, on way or another.

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Wild speculation is always good, Sal.

      The 7 defensemen certainly didn’t cause the loss on Saturday. We have a large group of forwards who cannot score. And, someone please convince me about Buchnevich, please? A playmaker is Vorachek who,already has 9 assists or the guy in DC with 8. Buch is a first line winger?

      • Oct 16, 2017 at 10:27 am

        The other teams have something to play for. I am not sure the Rangers Team have the confidence in the coach. 4 years of the same thing. I’m sure they can figure it out. We’re f__ked because of the coach!

        • Oct 16, 2017 at 10:44 am

          Not sure we are f–d because of the coach. More like he is looking down the bench for a hero, and everyone ducks.

          My comment on running 7 defenseman out there is much like have 3 good quarterbacks in the NFL. If you think you have 3 equally good QBs, you actually have none. He puts out a 7th defenseman because he doesn’t have faith in his forwards. No one is stepping up at center or the wings.

          I read where, against the Devils, Desharnais had more ice time that Zinbad. I think that is a HUGE mistake on the part of AV.

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      What does “lost the locker room” mean to you, Sal?

      Does it mean the players are refusing to execute AV’s strategies?

      Is that because they disagree with the philosophy and are opting to just go out and play their own game? And is that because they don’t believe in AV’s philosophy and have more faith in their own ability to ad hoc their way to a win? If that’s the case, 1-5-0 should probably be a good indication that what they’re doing isn’t working.

      Or is it more malicious than that, in that the team is actively working to undermine AV and force his departure?

      Does that seem reasonable for a group of professional athletes? Do they care more about getting rid of AV than winning games and earning their salary?

      Kevin Shattenkirk took a big pay cut and sacrificed years on his terms to come to NY. It’d be pretty unforgivable for the team around him to selfishly self-sabotage because they don’t like their coach.

      I don’t believe this is what is happening.

  • Oct 16, 2017 at 7:58 am

    let’s be honest we are underachieving the only one scoring is Mika although Kevin Hayes and Shatty are scoring but where is the effort tomorrow night the Stanley cup Champs the Pens are in Town do we see a win there hope so

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 8:32 am

      punctuation can be your friend! 🙂

  • Oct 16, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I thought Jesper made a solid comeback after hip surgery, it was nice to see.

    AV can win a cup, but only if the team he is coaching has serious talent, this team needs a new identity or its not going to be winning the way it needs to even get into the playoffs and make a case for the cup

    this group needs a different coach to get going

    It may not be AV, it may not be the team, but these 2 together aren’t right for each other.

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 9:58 am

      Jesper had 6 goals last year. That’s a 12/13th forward.

      • Oct 16, 2017 at 10:26 am

        I hear ya, I am not saying his return is the saving grace, I like the guy, the player, his energy is and has been important to this club.

  • Oct 16, 2017 at 9:38 am

    At the end of the week they get a struggling Nashville, followed by a struggling San Jose, Arizona and Montreal.

    If they don’t want to start 3-10(or worse) then running that set of game will go a long way in recovering a so far disastrous month.

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Or if you reverse it, those teams get the last place Rangers.

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 10:32 am

      thats optimism!

      The schedule is heavy with Home games, shame the Rangers haven’t trended towards being a home club!

  • Oct 16, 2017 at 10:14 am

    AV(x)=a_0+∑_(n=1)^∞▒(a_n cos⁡〖nπx/L〗+b_n sin⁡〖nπx/L〗 ) =Stupid coach

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 10:33 am

      well said well spoken…

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 10:55 am

      You’re always a great contribution to the discussion at hand.

      • Oct 16, 2017 at 11:20 am

        Thanks for your support.I hoped E3 thought the same way.

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

      So you use a_0 instead of (1/2)a_0

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 11:55 am

      I’m not a fan of AV as the Ranger’s coach. I actually think with a veteran team he can excel.
      But with a team of which the majority are young(er) players, I feel it’s a mistake to leave the locker room to the players. That only works when you have experienced, vocal, and been there-done-that type leader in the room. AV has said on numerous times he leaves the room to the players.

      So while I don’t think he’s a bad coach, I do think he’s a bad coach for this team.

  • Oct 16, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Been following sports for decades. I can tell when a coach has grown stale for his team. It happens to every coach sooner or later. This team needs a coach change as badly as I’ve ever seen. The coach and the team have gotten out of sync and it’s beyond repair.

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      On a certain level, I agree with you. I’m an AV fan. His record speaks for itself. But Sather said it best when he fired Torts—every coach has an expiration date. Has AV reached his with the Rangers? Quite possibly.

      But then there’s this Larry Brooks article in today’s NY Post. I will post the whole article shortly, but sometimes links take time to get approved, so I will right now just post a few interesting observations that he has on this—

      “Let us stipulate that the responsibility for this 1-5 start is on the players.

      “No one on the coaching staff misplayed Artemi Panarin’s game-winning, third-period rush in Columbus on Friday. The Kevins — Hayes and Shattenkirk — conspired to do that.

      “No one on the staff kidnapped Chris Kreider and kept him in a closet until Saturday night. He alone apparently decided to hide away in plain sight for most of the first five games.

      “No one from the staff slipped into No. 76 and made that bonehead turnover 15 seconds into the St. Louis loss on Tuesday. That was Brady Skjei in the flesh.

      “If a coaching change is necessary to catch this team’s attention after four years under Alain Vigneault, shame on the athletes, who sure won’t have it so good playing for someone else.

      “It appears as if everyone underestimated what the loss of Derek Stepan and Dan Girardi, two pillars of Vigneault’s who matched up against the opposition’s top guns from Day 1 through the final bitter moments of last year’s elimination by Ottawa before being sent away, would mean to the coach.

      “The situation is a mess down the middle after four years in which Vigneault had a 1A/1B pair of Stepan and Derick Brassard or Mika Zibanejad and solid fourth-liners in Dom Moore/Brian Boyle and Oscar Lindberg.

      “It seems clear general manager Jeff Gorton and the player personnel staff invested far too much faith over the summer in seventh-overall draft pick Lias Andersson’s ability to make the jump into the NHL as a 19-year-old.

      “And, as of now, there apparently is a void in the middle of the fourth line, with Vigneault choosing to go with seven defensemen and 11 forwards Saturday, in what can be interpreted as nothing more than a stinging indictment of his choices upfront.”

      There’s a lot more to this article, but at the moment anyway, there doesn’t seem to be anything at all brewing on the “replace the coach” front.

      • Oct 16, 2017 at 1:17 pm

        Would there be any difference if Derek Stepan and Dan Girardi were still here?
        I do not think so. AV lost Derek Stepan a long time ago.

        • Oct 16, 2017 at 2:18 pm

          I think there would be in terms of Stepan. He had his flaws for sure, but we are missing him more than you realize.

          I still chuckle to myself when I remember those who posted “we will be better off without Stepan….addition by subtraction!” Hilarious and false. If we had adequately repalced Stepan, that would have been fine. But right now, yes, we are missing him—big time!

          Girardi, it’s harder to tell. All I can say is, we certainly aren’t better on defense than we were, at least not so far.

          As for how AV “lost” Stepan, that’s just another one of your usual bogus narratives that has absolutely no basis in fact.

      • Oct 16, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        This is all true but the other side of all this is the fact that coaches win Jack Adams awards for reasons too, coaches get contracts to make teams play and win.

        AV has reached his end with this club, the style, the talents of this team are not meshing with him anymore.

        its like a breakup sometimes, things just need to happen

        Its not you, its me… sort of thing…

        ya can’t fire the other 20 something reasons…

        together they smell.

      • Oct 16, 2017 at 7:07 pm

        Who are you? And what have you done with E3? lol

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 12:30 pm


  • Oct 16, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Professor Rock—

    Very impressive formula, but as Einstein, Hawkings and other brilliant mathematical minds will tell you, facts are indeed stubborn things. So your formula should be revised to read…..

    AV(x)=a_0+∑_(n=1)^∞▒(a_n cos⁡〖nπx/L〗+b_n sin⁡〖nπx/L)= 615 wins, 14th ALL TIME.

    Not exactly a record that anyone with a clear and objective brain would classify as “stupid coach”.

    So I leave you with this quote from an asteemed dean from one of America’s finest Universities—

    “Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable. You are a very poor scientist, Dr. Rock.”—Dean Yeager, Columbia University.

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      AV has a poor record of winning the Cup.
      It reminds me of a rocket taking off and then suddenly blowing up! Happens every year!
      Maybe we should take away the self-destruct button in AV’s possession.
      Then the observer is blamed for witnessing the freak occurrence.
      A poor scientist I may be but I hope I have basic logic that the supporters of AV lack.
      Put the better players in before the favorite players.
      Not only will the team suffer so will the team psyche. Players are not stupid.Players want no doubt in their mind the coach wants to win. Playing 7 on defense is another example of giving up which he did in a game 7 of the playoffs. You can only use that karate kid move once. It will never happen again.

      • Oct 16, 2017 at 2:21 pm

        The coach has won….615 times….more than all but 13 other guys. Obviously, his methods work. So your statement is rejected by the faculty of this University once again.

        • Oct 16, 2017 at 2:24 pm

          And yet the rocket blows up!
          615 less than or equal to no Cup!

          • Oct 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

            Many coaches have failed to win it all and are still great coaches. In NY, he’s never had a team of high-end stars. Only the pretend stars that you insist are great when in reality they actually aren’t.

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Here is one more old cliche. Somewhere there is a village missing an idiot!

  • Oct 16, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    E3: I have been thinking about your (satirical) theory that AV might be wishing to be fired at this point, so he can take a vacation or go to a team with better players. LOL

    If he is secretly campaigning on social media, maybe I have discovered something:

    (or even better)

  • Oct 16, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Maybe the best thing to do is….nothing…..
    Not the end of the world if we miss the playoffs…..finish bottom 5?
    Maybe the draft has a bonified sniper or center who can help us next year….
    Maybe chytil is ready next year……
    Would I trade some unproven youth….[ anderson, deangelo, etc to reacquire Lindberg who was terrific 4 th line center…….
    Would I can AV at seasons end and hire Mark Messier…….you bet I would!!!!!!!!

    • Oct 16, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Mark Messier…..oh boy, here we go. Would make the fans feel great and probably inspire the players…for a day. Mess has never coached on ANY level. The chances that would actually work are slim and none.

      Or, better idea…we can bring back Bryan Trottier…look how well that worked! 🙂

      Too early to give up on the season. But sure, if this is a lost year, it’s not the end of the world. We can finally get a lotter pick draft choice (and this time not squander it on mediocre players with colorful nicknames that can’t play in this era).

      If we are rebuilding, why on God’s green earth would you trade future guys who MIGHT be stars for a 4th line center who will likely NEVER be a star. I like Lindberg and wish we had him back. But seriously?????

      • Oct 16, 2017 at 3:49 pm

        If I ”’recall correctly”” Anderssons scouting reports project him as 3rd -4th liner , not a #1 center nor a star…..Lindberg, I have seen for several years and his performance impresses me and what he brings in all aspects of the game……
        Chytil is the guy with the greater upside whom I would not trade…..
        Basically I have seen too many ”’Might ”” be a star guys never make it, the chances of andersson becoming a” star”’ or even a top line center is remote at best…..

        • Oct 16, 2017 at 4:12 pm

          So you draft Andersson in the first round. He impresses in camp enough to warrant consideration to possibly make the team. And now you want to flip him just to get back a 4th line center that you were willing to part with in expansion draft?

          Sorry Rich, any GM who would do that would be fired immediately. If you want to deal Andersson at this young stage of his development, it needs to be part of a package that would land you a 1C or 2C. Not a 4C.

      • Oct 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm

        We should go with a proven winner, Mike Keenan!

        • Oct 16, 2017 at 4:26 pm

          You mean the guy that nearly purposely drove a loaded Rangers roster off the cliff in 1994 because of his power feud with his GM? And a guy who put together one of the worst records following a SC Championship season in NHL history (1 playoff series win in 11 seasons, and was fired 5 times with an average stay of less than two seasons)? And a guy who has been out of the league for over 8 years now since no NHL team has been willing to touch with a ten foot pole because he can’t get along with management and his players by and large wind up hating him?

          Yeah…sounds like a PERFECT choice. Just what the Rangers need. A lunatic.

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