The month of October has been a disaster for the New York Rangers. With a record of 3-7-0 they sit tied for last place in the 8 team Metropolitan Division. They play two more games this month. Once against the New York Islanders and once against the Buffalo Sabres. Both are games the Rangers must win. If they lose both, they enter November 3-9-0.
Well, what is wrong with the Rangers? The simple answer would appear to be – offence. Or lack thereof. After ten games played the Blueshirts goal total is a shockingly low 15. Coming into this season the Rangers were considered a threat to win the Metropolitan. After a month of hockey, the chances of that are dwindling quickly.
Not scoring a bunch of goals isn’t the end of the world. The 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings finished the regular season with the second worst goals scored in the entire NHL and we all know what happened with them. But, the Kings made a trade deadline deal to acquire added scoring when they inherited Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets, reuniting him with his old pal Mike Richards. The Kings got hot at the right time and the rest is history. Is there a Jeff Carter on the horizon for the Rangers? Or can they figure this out from within?
Luckily for New York, ten games doesn’t have to mean much. This may just be a slow start to the season – something Alain Vigneault‘s group can rectify in time for the playoffs. That being said, I’m reminded of the old hockey saying – ‘you can’t make the playoffs in October, but you can miss the playoffs in October’ – or something along those lines. You get the point.
The Rangers have been shutout thrice, or in 30% of the games they’ve played so far. It’s impossible for that to continue, right?
May as well call the first ten games of the season a write-off for the Rangers. They have seventy remaining, and they’ll need to greatly increase their winning percentage or the 2014 Stanley Cup tournament will be Ranger-less.
Last season the Rangers finished 4th best in goals against. Their defensive prowess has not carried over into this year. At the moment, with 35 goals against after ten contests, New York are tied for 19th worst in the league.
Everything is going wrong for the Rangers this year. Renovations at MSG forced them to play the first nine games of the season on the road. Rock, starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has struggled through the worst stretch of hockey in his career. And, high profile scoring winger Rick Nash is out with injury.
The month of November is make or break. They play 15 games in 29 nights. 8 of the games will be played at Madison Square Garden. It is the kind of month that can make or break their season. If they don’t come out of November above 0.500 they will enter December under the gun to play near flawless hockey the rest of the way. With a tougher divisional playoff format, the chances of rectifying a terrible first two months would be minimal at best. So, November is huge for the New York Rangers. Their season is on the line, starting now.