Rangers' Offense Looking More and More Comfortable under Vigneault
Rather, the Blueshirts were a hockey team that played a defense first style of hockey and relied on Henrik Lundqvist to make save after save in order to win a hockey game. While it is certainly a style of play that does not always work, it helped win the Rangers a lot of hockey games.
With that said, however, this style of play came with the sacrifice of the team's offense. More often than not, the team was more focused on keeping the puck out of their own net that they did not put much in the other team's net.
This season, it appears that things are much different under new head coach Alain Vigneault. While the team still needs to do a better job of putting the puck in the net, there are several areas in their offensive game that have improved greatly from the last two seasons.
For starters, the Rangers have been shooting the puck a lot more. As of this writing, the Blueshirts are fourth in the league in averaging 32.6 shots per game and have not shown any signs of changing that philosophy.
This season, the Rangers have registered 40 or more shots eight times, which is something they did not do a lot of under previous head coach John Tortorella. If the team continues to fire pucks on net, more will certainly find their way into the back of the net.
Secondly, the team is doing much better when it comes to puck possession. Under Vigneault, this Rangers' hockey club cycles more, gets pucks deep and retrieves them, sets up in the offensive zone and creates an array of scoring opportunities.
Under Tortorella, this style of play was not in the Blueshirts' repertoire. Back then, the team would be fine with dumping the puck in and getting into a defensive formation to prevent the other team from going down the ice and scoring.
Lastly, the team's offense looks confident. Last night in their 1-0 shutout victory over the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden, forward Derek Stepan made a between the legs pass to Ryan Callahan, who almost ended up scoring on the play.
Stepan would not have done that had he not been confident or creative enough to make such a play. This is also the case for the rest of the team as each of the forward lines seem to be getting more and more comfortable with each other and as a result, are finding a way to generate scoring opportunities.
It is certainly a change that was tough for the Rangers' offense to transition to, but now that they have shown they can do it, more goals should come their way.