With only 18 games remaining in the Rangers’ regular season, the Stanley Cup playoffs are right around the corner. This brings more meaningful games, as teams try to climb the standings and secure their place in the race. However, it also brings more action-packed games, meaning tighter played games as well. This means 1 goal games which the Rangers have exceeded at this year.
Up to this point, the Rangers have played 26 1 goal games. Of those 26, the Rangers have won 19 (2 belong to the shootout), lost only 5 and have lost two in overtime (again those 2 belong to the shootout). With this team it seems the tighter the games become the better they play (except lack luster games against Dallas and Boston). When a game is tooth and nail, you don’t attempt anything that could blow up in your face. Those beautiful outlet passes can’t be done as often as you want. In times of desperation, you need to play a simpler game and make the easier pass. Bully your way into the zone, don’t do anything fancy. The Rangers sometimes struggle with this, but majority of the time still manage to come out on top. The defensemen shouldn’t pinch as they stay back at the blue line in case of a turnover that they need to be in position for. Forwards tend to be a little more selfish, because they can be caught out of position, trying to make a pretty play that leaves the defense out to dry. Though sometimes you have to take those chances in desperation. The Rangers sometimes pass too much when they’re set up in the zone, which can hurt them as it can lead to the pass being intercepted and them having to leave the zone and set up again. Although the Rangers are good in these 1 goal situations, come playoff time they’re going to need to get back to the way they played in the beginning of the season, when they averaged over 4 goals a game.
The Rangers have also been great in overtime, sitting undefeated on the 3-on-3. The open space is the time to use their speed, as they are one of the fastest in the league. Now, does going undefeated in regular season overtime means it’ll transfer over into the playoffs? No. You’re going from 3-on-3 to 5-on-5; they’re playing another period, and Henrik Lundquist thrives for these situations. He has great stats in 1 goal games.
At the end of the day, some of the Rangers’ best hockey is played in these types of situations. They hold an NHL record for 15 1 goal Stanley Cup playoff games. It spans from game 4 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final to game 1 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Final, as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated them 6-2 in game 2.
The playoffs loom just a little over a month ahead. So buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride.
Author: @DunnyBabes via Twitter