It’s amazing the difference a year makes. Last year, the Rangers had some pretty decent secondary scoring, but no primary scoring. This year, it’s the polar opposite. The Rangers have plenty of primary scoring courtesy of Marian Gaborik, but the rest of the team seems to have forgotten how to score. All of our wishes in the off season were for a game changer, but yet, we should have been asking for consistency from the remaining forwards as well.
Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Sean Avery, and Chris Higgins were all penciled in for 15-25 goals a piece. As of right now, Dan Girardi, yes Dan Girardi, is outscoring ALL OF THEM. Only Dubinsky has more points than Girardi. Considering Girardi only has three goals and nine points, there is only one word to describe this phenomenon: pathetic.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still optimistic about the rest of the year, they all can’t under-achieve all year, that would set some kind of record for most under achievers in a season. But the current results are alarming to say the least. Drury and Dubinsky get a pass for a while because they are injured long term. The rest of the team needs to pick up the slack though.
It starts with getting the puck on net. The only Ranger not named Gaborik with 60+ shots through 21 games is Ryan Callahan. That’s an average of just three shots per game. Three. Once you exclude Vinny Prospal and Ales Kotalik, who have been pulling their weight, no Ranger even has 50 SOG. You can’t score if you don’t put the puck on net. Gaborik has 71 SOG, and 15 goals. Sure, he’s Gaborik, but there is a correlation between SOG and goals. After all, you can’t score if you don’t shoot. (This is a lesson in life, not just hockey.)
It is also about getting the dirty goals. The rebounds, the deflections, the lucky bounces off a defenseman. That starts with the defense getting the puck to the net low and hard. This clearly creates rebounds. The second is driving to the net, getting into those dirty areas. Gaborik’s first goal last night was a dirty rebound goal because he was in front of the net. Brian Boyle scored a goal against Atlanta streaking to the net and converting a rebound on a low, hard shot taken from outside the circles.