The NY Rangers have offense problems. Yet after yesterday’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes put them in an 0-2 hole, there was much discussion about who the Rangers should start in net. Henrik Lundqvist let in a soft one to start the game, that can’t be denied, but that wasn’t the issue throughout the game or series. Changing the goalie won’t solve the offense problem.
Talk, as expected, has shifted to Igor Shesterkin getting the start in net. Unless there is an injury, then Shesterkin is clearly the better option. However that won’t matter if the Rangers keep playing the way they’ve been. Lundqvist let in that soft one, but unless he put up a few goals, it wouldn’t have mattered.
Goaltending is always the easy scapegoat. Lundqvist wasn’t as sharp in Game 2 as he was in Game 1. But goaltending is far from the issue the Rangers are dealing with. The Rangers haven’t been able to get anything going offensively at all. It’s a little surprising given the fire power too.
For the series, the Rangers have managed a whopping 13 high-danger chances (per Natural Stat Trick). The breakdown is eight in Game 1 and five in Game 2. That’s actually quite terrible, and even worse when you realize Game 2 was the better showing by the Rangers.
Of the five legit chances in Game 2, four were at even strength. One was that 5-on-3 goal by Artemi Panarin. In Game 1, the Rangers managed 3 high danger chances on the powerplay. On *seven* powerplays. Unless the Rangers plan on using Shesterkin on the powerplay, then it won’t matter who they put in net.
So, the problem isn't the *defending* part of defense. The problem is that the defensemen are doing a horrible job of transitioning to offense. This bears out both in the eye test and the numbers.
— Rob Celebrity (@RobCelletti) August 3, 2020
There isn’t just one reason why the Rangers have been unable to get things going. A complete and utter failure like this has multiple reasons. But goaltending sure isn’t one of them. Rob’s thread above says it best – the Rangers are actually defending relatively well. They just have no offense at all.
This is the underlying issue with the team right now, and one that not many predicted to happen. Like Rob said, the defensemen are simply unable to transition to offense. The number of flips to the neutral zone, or hail mary passes, or just regular passes that failed is astounding. The Rangers haven’t been able to gain the neutral zone with speed. Without that, they can’t even get the puck moving into the offensive zone. That’s the problem. Unless Shesterkin is going to lead the breakout, don’t expect anything different.
Play your best players, and yes that means Shesterkin over Hank. However don’t expect different results if the NY Rangers don’t solve their offense problems. That’s the bigger problem.