Monzo Minor: State Of The Rangers, 10 Games In
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By Brian Monzo
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It’s been a well-traveled first 10 games to the season for the Rangers. From Europe, back to the US, to Canada and back home to MSG.
The Blueshirts wrap up their first 10 games at 4-3-3, and despite not playing great hockey, are a game over .500.
They are also still without Marc Staal.
Despite the brutal loss on Saturday to Ottawa, these last two games have shown signs of improvement. With all the traveling and shifting players around, the team wasn’t firing offensively and on the power-play. In the last two games, the Rangers’ offense seems to have found some momentum, scoring 4 and 5 goals, respectively.
Henrik Lundqvist for the most part has played unbelievably in goal. He has one shutout, and it working with a goals against average under 2.50. He hasn’t been the fastest starter in years past, so his hot start to the season has been fun to watch, and has helped the Rangers get most of their points. Marty Biron has been great in his two appearances, going 2-0. He continues to be the best backup in the NHL.
It’s been inconsistent, but overall the core of forwards have been pretty productive. Brad Richards has nine points in 10 games and Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan both have scored five goals. Brandon Dubinsky has yet to find the back of the net, but continues to get better.
Also, the power-play has been 6 for its last 17.
You never want to be without your best defenseman, but since Marc Staal has gone down, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi have been a great pairing. McDonagh has been the biggest surprise, adding some offense to his game by scoring three goals in the early season. Michael Del Zotto was shaky at first, but through 10 games has four points and is a +7.
This is all well and good, but there has been just as much bad as good. They went through a stretch of games where the offense was not there. It wasn’t even scoring, it was shooting. Last night against the Sharks was the first time they outshot a team all season. They need to create more chances. They’ve done that the last two games and have score nine goals. If they can find a way to continue this, they should find success.
Getting Staal back is something they are going to eventually need. The problem with concussions is that you never know when they are fully recovered. In Staal’s case, there is no time timetable for a return. I would not be shocked if he misses half the season.
The bottom line is that the Rangers are a team that needs more time to gel. I’ve heard from fans that are already giving up on the season. A team needs 20-25 games to really come together. For the Rangers, each game is a stepping stone.
Follow me on Twitter @BMonzoWFAN
Your thoughts on the Rangers’ season so far? Let Monzo know in the comments below…