The Rangers finally won in regulation for what felt like the first time all season. There is some hope, as they of course won. But the process wasn’t the best. I’m on the “two points is two points” side of things, as a team with this fragile a psyche needs any points they can get. Hopefully process follows.
While the Rangers have been bad, they’ve also been fairly “unlucky.” A skilled team, the Rangers have shot around 9% over the past few seasons (at even strength). This has to do with the skill level, but also is a by-product of Alain Vigneault’s counter attacking system in the neutral zone. When executed properly, it leads to higher quality scoring chances.
Execution is certainly lacking. That we know. However there comes a point where even with failing execution, shooting percentage will still balance out. The Rangers have too many skilled forwards for it not to. And therein lies one of the “glass half full” ideologies. The Rangers are shooting 6.5% at even strength, which is in the bottom-tenth of the league. They were under 5% before the Nashville game too, where they scored four times on just 15 shots.
Perhaps that Nashville game was one of the scoring outbursts that is going to take place, but there will be a balancing effect on the Rangers’ shooting percentage. They will start scoring. They are too skilled not to, and prior history –even without Derek Stepan– shows us they will.
However don’t be mistaken. A scoring outburst doesn’t necessarily mean the Rangers have turned the corner. Scoring without process subsides back to normal levels. Hockey is a delicate balance of process and results. Sometimes you get results without process. Sometimes you get process without results. The former gets you in trouble, though, and that’s where the Rangers are lacking.
I, for one, am looking forward to the offensive outburst. The Rangers need a confidence boost. Hopefully with that comes more focus on process, which breeds more consistent and sustainable results. A lot of pieces need to fall into place for that. But for now, let’s enjoy the offensive outburst if/when it comes.