Eventually some of Derek Stepan’s shots will find the back of the net
Despite the abominations Rangers fans witnessed earlier this season against San Jose and Anaheim, there have been plenty of reasons to expect a turnaround in the team’s fortunes. An extremely difficult early-season road schedule, several injuries to key players and an expected adjustment period to a new coach have all contributed to the team’s struggles. All of those things issues seem to be slowly righting themselves and as a result New York has won two of its last three games. But there’s another simple reason the team’s 4-7-0 record isn’t indicative of its performance the rest of the way: luck.
Sure, it sounds silly to think that luck can play such a major role in a professional sport where athletes are paid millions of dollars to use their top-notch skills to eliminate such variables, but luck is indeed as much a factor in the NHL as it is in your beer league game, when sometimes your team has 25 scoring chances in a game and still can’t put one by the opposing goaltender.
And any way you look at it, the Rangers have had absolutely miserable luck this season all over the ice. Well, all except one player – Brad Richards – who, ironically, felt like the team’s unluckiest player a year ago.
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Dominic Moore is five-of-12 in his career
Though the skills competition isn’t really a fair way to determine the winner of a hockey game, success in the shootout has granted some teams entry to the postseason and – as Rangers fans know all too well – denied others.
Thanks in large part to Henrik Lundqvist’s heroics, New York has traditionally been a solid shootout club. The Blueshirts went 4-4 in the event last season and are 53-40 overall since its inception in 2005.
Last season, coach John Tortorella relied heavily on Ryan Callahan and Rick Nash in the shootout and it’s likely that new coach Alain Vigneault will do the same. It also seems like a no-brainer that Vigneault will deploy one of New York’s most deadly shootout weapons – Mats Zuccarello – now that the Norwegian is back for a full season. So who could Vigneault turn to in Callahan’s absence to start the season and in the event of future slumps/injuries? Let’s take a look at how New York’s forwards did in the skills competition last year: Read more »
- After the trade deadline Derick Brassard had five goals in six assists while Marian Gaborik had three goals and five assists.
- The Rangers went 9-3-1 following the trade deadline.
- Before the trade deadline the Rangers averaged 2.4 goals per game. After it, they averaged 3.6.
- Check out this chart of where playoff teams ranked in shot differential this season. (Via @NHL_Stats) Read more »
- Since the trade deadline, Derick Brassard has three goals in six assists in 10 games and Marian Gaborik has three goals and four assists in 10 games.
- The Rangers are 7-2-1 since the trade deadline. (Via @Herman_NYRBlog)
- The Rangers are 8-36 (22.2%) on the power play since the trade deadline and were converting at a 14.3% rate before it.
- Brad Richards has four goals and three assists in his last three games. Richards notched his first career hat trick in his 896th game on Friday. He’d previously had 22 two-goal games. (Via @SteveZipay)
- Richards’ burst gives him 10 goals and 20 assists in 43 games, which is a 57-point pace (19 goals, 38 assists) over an 82-game season. Read more »
- New York has won 11 of its last 12 games against the Flyers dating back to March 6, 2011. The Rangers have outscored the Flyers 46-20 during that timeframe.
- The Rangers are 14-3-3 in their last 20 games against the Islanders.
- New York is 19-for-20 on the penalty kill over its last seven games. The Rangers are 14-4-2 when they don’t allow a power play goal this season.
- Henrik Lundqvist is now tied with Eddie Giacomin for most career shutouts by a Ranger goalie with 50. Read more »
- Injured Ranger Derek Dorsett led the NHL with 235 penalty minutes last season. Dorsett ranked third in the league in fighting majors behind Brandon Prust and Shawn Thornton.
- Mats Zuccarello has 13 hits in six games this season. He had eight hits in 10 games last year and 56 in 42 games two years ago. (Via @Herman_NYRBlog)
- The Rangers are 5-4-1 in back-to-back sets and 2-3-0 in the second game of those sets.
- In the second game of back-to-back sets during his career, Henrik Lundqvist is 40-17-7 with a 1.91 GAA and a .933 SV%. Read more »
- Ryan Clowe ranked second on the Sharks in hits this year with 69. That total would put him fourth on the Rangers.
- Clowe ranked fifth on the Sharks in shots with 65. He’d be seventh on the Blueshirts.
- Before this season, here are Clowe’s power play points by year: 15 in 11-12, 13 in 10-11, 15 in 09-10, 24 in 08-09.
- Clowe has 45 points in 68 career playoff games including 18 points in 22 postseason appearances over the last two seasons. (Via @Mike_Rappaport)
- If Clowe was scoring at his career rate of 11.1%, he’d have seven goals. Read more »
- Over the last 19 games, New York is 10 for 52 on the power play.
- Arron Asham is the first player in NHL history to score a goal for each of the five teams in the Atlantic Division. (Via @Liam_McHugh)
- 11 of Mats Zuccarello’s 26 career NHL points have come on the power play, including 10 of his 18 assists.
- Zuccarello posted 11 goals and 17 assists in 44 games with Magnitogorsk of the KHL this season.
- Zuccarello is 5-10 lifetime in shootouts. Read more »
- The Rangers are just 4-10-1 against Eastern Conference opponents currently in the playoff picture.
- Chris Kreider has scored six goals and one assist for the CT Whale since being demoted just over two weeks ago.
- The Rangers are 11-5-1 when both Rick Nash and Marc Staal are in the lineup.
- The Rangers have allowed their opponents to score first in 18 of 28 games this season. They are 7-10-1 in those matches. (Via @RothmanHockey)
- Derek Stepan’s tying goal in the second period last night snapped a 129:55 team scoring drought. (Via @AGrossRecord)
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- Rick Nash’s first 8 goals of the season came in the 3rd period. The only other player to do that: Arron Asham as a member of the Islanders in 2003-2004.
- The Ottawa Senators have beaten the Rangers 6 times in a row at Madison Square Garden. New York is 1-1-12 in its last 14 home games against the Senators.
- The Rangers went 10-2-2 in the second games of back-to-backs last season. They are 0-3-0 in those situations this year. (Via @RothmanHockey)
- The Blueshirts have scored power play goals in 5 of their last 6 games. The Rangers are 6 for their last 19 on the power play and 9 for their last 38.
- New York is 8-2-2 when scoring a power play goal this year.
- The Blueshirts are 8-3-1 when they don’t give up a power play goal this year. (Via @RothmanHockey)
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