Rangers Recap: Rangers effort in question

The New York Rangers might have put together the worst playoff effort we have ever seen in their 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils last night in Game 4. It may have been too much of an ask for them to give a consistent effort coming into Madison Square Garden up 2-0 in the series. Aside from a few select players, there was just no life in this game, or in Game 3, and now the series is tied.

The Rangers were waiting the Devils out pretty much the whole game, playing passively throughout. The only players who seemed to actually care last night were Vincent Trocheck, Chris Kreider, and Patrick Kane, plus the usual with the kids. The Rangers are limiting the Devils to an average of 25 shots in this series. Defensively they’ve been great.

But defense doesn’t do it all. The Rangers simply cannot get their offense going, which is pretty damning given the type of personnel they acquired at the deadline. Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin have been invisible, and if not for Kreider’s five goals and Kane’s six points, we might be looking at this series a different way. Panarin and Zibanejad led the team in scoring this year, the Rangers are not here without them. But they need to show up, or this series is over.

To shift from the negative, the Rangers have deployed a great defensive scheme and are limiting what was a pretty elite offense in the regular season to 25 shots on goal average. The Rangers are not overcompensating, they are not making costly plays with the puck, and in large stretches, are keeping Jersey to the outside. This is a great foundation which Gallant should be able to build on as this series now heads back to New Jersey.

Defense is the hard part. Now the Rangers need their top guns and depth to start chipping in on the offense. This Rangers team is skilled enough that they shouldn’t need to be coached how to play offense, yet here we are. They did not want to engage in the corners, they did not want to chase pucks when they dumped them into the zone, and they rarely tested Schmid in net. I don’t think he had to make a single difficult save in the game.

How a team can go from how they played in Games 1 and 2 to how they played in Games 3 and 4 is troubling, to say the least.


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