How The New York Rangers Can Improve During Their Homestand

New York Rangers Improvements

The one team that made headlines is the New York Rangers. Chris Drury was a busy man at the trade deadline and made one big splash after another. The results have paid off in terms of their record over their recent stretch. But overall, the New York Rangers improvements in certain areas would help propel them further.

Rangers Areas To Improve

In grand scheme of things, the New York Rangers are 4-2-1 in their last seven. Overall that is not bad as they maintain third place in the division. However, there are things to improve on as they enter a five game homestand that begins on Tuesday. Last article was discussing the impact of defensemen Ryan Lindgren, and this is how the team has looked without him.

The Overall Play

The New York Rangers needs to make improvements to its overall play. They appear to be chasing the game more than they are controlling it. There Corsi For is a measly 45.29%, which is well below there average for the season. Given the star power up front, they lack in expected goals with 40.49%. However, in this frame they have an xGoals of 11 and have scored 12 so they are at least cashing in at the expected rate. To simply put it, the Rangers are getting out played heavily. Scoring chances are 68-99 in favour of the opposition, and the high danger areas belong to the opposition as well. An area where Lindgren shines brightly has been dominated since his absence. But, you want more especially out of this lineup which leads me to my next point.

The Big Boys Need To Get Going

In addition to their overall gameplay, the big boys up front need to get going. Chris Drury ensured that in the event that the big guns run cold, depth is there to fill the void. And while that is true, you want your best players to be your best players this time of the year. Here’s how the big boys up front have played for far:

Mika Zibanejad: 1 goals-3 assists-4 points

Chris Kreider: 3 goals

Vincent Trocheck: 3 assists

Adam Fox: 3 assists

Vladimir Tarasenko: 2 goals-3 assists-5 points

Patrick Kane: 2 goals-1 assist-3 points

Artemi Panarin: 1 goal-5 assists-6 points

This is all in the month of March. Zibanejad has not scored a goal in his last five games. On the surface it looks like Tarasenko has been going, but he has been held pointless in the last three games and has not scored in four. Kane has only played five games and appears to be finally finding his groove. Panarin’s only goal came in overtime against Buffalo the other night. Of the team’s 12 goals in this stretch, they’ve scored nine of them. Which to be fair is good, but it has been streaky and not consistent. In addition, the infamous “Kid Line” has been underwhelming. Between Alexis Lafreniere, Kappo Kakko, and Filip Chytil, they’ve combined for just six points. Overall that entire group up front needs to click at a higher rate. Bottom line is the Rangers are winning. However, there is a large reason why they’ve been able to win despite being outplayed.

The Bright Lights On Broadway

Over the course of this stretch, both Igor Shesterkin and Jaroslav Halak have shared the crease. Shesterkin has played in five of them with Halak getting the remaining two starts.

Halak has been good in his two starts. He got peppered with shots as he faced 68 in those starts. However, he did allow seven goals goals which was expected based on the quality of the chances he faced. Halak had a poor outing against the Senators, but followed that up with a rock-solid performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins. If not for Halak, that game would have been ugly in the first ten minutes. His goals against average and save percentage are subpar, but one bad game of the two will go that.

The heir to the throne in Shesterkin has been a rock for the Rangers during this stretch. He is 3-1 in the month of March and his numbers have been great. Shesterkin has a solid 2.42 goals against average, and a .910 save percentage. In addition, he has a 2.97 goals saved above expected and has a solid .914 save percentage in the high-danger area.

It is safe to say that given the Rangers underlying metrics stated above, goaltending has kept them in games. It is not a bad thing by any means, but the guys in front need to help them out.

The New York Rangers Chance To Improve

The New York Rangers will have the chance to improve. Up next is a five game home stand. Home cooking in front of the Garden Faithful could be a good thing. It will not be easy as they face the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins twice, Nashville Predators, and Carolina Hurricanes. This will be a good test for the team, but even better to improve while on home ice.

Main Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports