NHL

Rangers’ Defensive Play Alarming in Early Going

10/12/13 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Sep 26, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Henrik Sedin (33) scores against New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) and  defenseman Dan Girardi (5) and forward Derek Dorsett (15) during the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY SportsOver the last few seasons, the New York Rangers have been one of the league’s best defensive hockey teams.

The team’s defensive corps consistently blocked shots, cleared the front of the net out, broke up odd man rushes and did everything they possibly could to allow their netminder to see the puck. Not only did the team’s defense do all that, but they also had all-world masked man Henrik Lundqvist playing behind them.

Five games into this season, things have been much different for the Rangers’ defense. It is certainly not in a good way.

The Blueshirts have allowed 25 goals so far and have looked horrible in doing so. Obviously, both Lundqvist and Martin Biron are having their troubles as well but perhaps there troubles would be lessened if the team’s defense was playing better.

For starters, the Rangers are giving up far too many quality scoring chances. A lot of the goals that the opponents are scoring are coming from the slot, players left wide open in front, loose pucks in front of the net and other prime scoring areas.

This means that the Rangers are not doing a good job of playing their position in the defensive zone. Players have been found to either be out of position or they are not doing a good job of finding the open opponent.

Secondly, turnovers are killing this team. Too often early on this season, the Rangers are turning over the puck in all three zones.

In tonight’s 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues, the Rangers turned over the puck in their own zone at least three or four times. By doing this, the club is forcing their goaltenders to try and come up with save after save and putting pressure on them to stop shots from quality areas.

The Rangers have also turned over the puck a lot in the neutral zone this year. When this happens, the other team either comes down the ice in an odd man situation or they get control of the puck and find a way to put it in the back of the net. Simply put, the Rangers have not played a disciplined game with the puck in their first five games.

Another problem for the Rangers has been not covering the points. When the Rangers are in their own zone, the points are consistently being left open and when this happens, the opponents’ defensemen are able to get pucks to the net and create scoring chances that should not happen if a team is defending the right way.

Simply put, the Rangers are not playing the kind of defense that is going to win them hockey games. This is exactly why the Rangers find themselves at 1-4 to start the season.
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