NHL

Easy to see why Rangers are struggling

10/11/13 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Oct 8, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Rangers center Derick Brassard (16) and center Brad Richards (19) celebrate after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the first period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY SportsComing into this season, it was believed that the New York Rangers' were going to be a different hockey club.

The differences would be with their power play, their offensive-style of play, and their creativity with the puck. While this all sounded good, it has certainly not turned out that way for the Blueshirts in their first four games of the season.

The Rangers are 1-3 to start the season and have looked terrible doing so. The team has allowed 20 goals, have scored just six goals, and do not look like a confident bunch right now.

Let's examine each of these areas a bit further and see just why the Rangers are struggling early on this season.

Porous Defense
For the last several seasons, the Rangers' were one of the best defensive teams in the NHL.

Obviously, a lot of that was because of the play of their all-world netminder Henrik Lundqvist but it was also because of a commitment to break up passes, block shots, clear rebounds and get in passing and shooting lanes. Through the team's first four games, there has been none of that.

Instead, Rangers' goaltenders have seen a lot of pucks thrown their way, a lot of open players in front of their net, several odd-man rushes, turnovers by their teammates in each zone and unfortunately, more pucks behind them then in front of them. It has been open season on Lundqvist and Biron and their stats show it.

Lackluster Offense
While the Rangers have been a solid defensive team over the last few seasons, their offense has been another story.

That has carried into this season as the team is once again struggling to put the puck in the net. In fact, they have been outscored 19-3 in their three losses this season.

Yes, Rangers' forward Brad Richards has gotten off to a good start but where is the rest of the offense? When are other players going to step up and start putting the puck in the net?

Where is the Confidence?
After being demolished by the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday by a score of 9-2, many figured that the Blueshirts would come out quickly against the Ducks and show that their terrible performance against the Sharks was due to being tired in back-to-back games.

The Rangers did not do that at all in their 6-0 loss the Ducks. The Rangers came out flat and were badly outplayed by the Ducks, leaving Lundqvist all alone to try and handle the onslaught.

It appears that the loss to the Sharks is still fresh in their head and with another bad loss to the Ducks, the bad memories continue to develop early on for the Rangers.

What's Next?
Things will not get any easier for the Rangers as they take on one of the league's top teams in the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. If the Rangers thought the Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks and Ducks were good, just wait until they get a look at the Blues.

Things could go from bad to worse for Alain Vigneault and the Rangers.
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