The New York Rangers have wasted a light schedule in the month of December by recording only one win so far.
When the New York Rangers looked at their schedule, the month of December looked like a good time to get some more practice time and continue the winning as they did in November. Instead, they’ve mustered just one win and are trying to find out what went wrong so fast.
The month of December has seen plenty of off days for the Blueshirts.
In the first 11 days of the month, the team has only played four games. A Dec. 1 contest in Montreal where the team loss 5-2. That was followed by a consecutive game on Dec.2 at home against the Winnipeg Jets which resulted in a 4-3 shootout loss.
Following the Jets loss, the team had an unprecedented five full days off until a game at Florida on Dec. 8 in which the club won 5-4 in a shootout. With a day off again, Blueshirts played a game in Tampa Bay dropping that contest 6-3. The team is now off until Friday, Dec. 14 when they host the Arizona Coyotes.
Almost half of the month of December has gone by and the team only acquired one point out of a possible eight, with no regulation wins. There are several reasons for the bad play and none of them can be blamed on fatigue or travel.
Head coach David Quinn has also had to deal with the injury bug which has hit this young team pretty hard right now. Mats Zuccarello, Pavel Buchnevich and Adam Mcquaid have all been out of action for well over a month. Zucc has missed the last six games in a row with a nagging groin injury.
Add to that list Kevin Shattenkirk, who left the game in the second period of the team’s loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday night and the problems won’t be getting better anytime soon. Shatty left the arena last night with his arm in a sling and will be sidelined indefinitely.
The Rangers have played some bad hockey and the results have been pretty much self-inflicted up to this point. The team is struggling while playing with a lead, but the key to the problem has been penalties.
The Rangers shorthanded handed six times in the Tampa Bay game. In the last four games, the Rangers have been down a man 14 times. They have had only four power plays in that same time frame including only one Monday night in their loss to the lightning.
The Rangers need more puck possession in order to draw more power play opportunities. They are doing the opposite in the past four games as they have been defending more, causing them to take more penalties. The resulting penalty kills have caused the team to blow leads and drop down in the standings.
The Rangers have had plenty of time to work on the penalty kill along with other struggling aspects of their game. The schedule will get a lot harder now as the team will only have a break of three days twice between Dec. 14 and Jan. 19.
The young team will have to learn how to find that winning combination on the fly as there generous sbreak in the schedule is over. David Quinn will have to earn his money now as the team will try to find the winning ways they experienced in November.