It’s the same story told again and again.
The New York Rangers are not generating enough offense and are not getting enough contributions from their well-paid players. Even when they are generating scoring chances, they are failing to finish—a problem that continues to haunt New York and its faithful fans.
In Sunday's loss to Detroit, the Rangers let slip, what should have been, a hard-earned and well-fought victory. A win that could've been used as a momentum builder, but instead, is just another tough defeat, as the Blueshirts leave Madison Square Garden once again a broken team.
"It is a tough game to lose," said Ryan Callahan. "They are all tough games when you lose them. It is tough when you feel like you play a good 60 [minutes] and they score late in the game. It is a tough loss."
The Rangers battled the Red Wings for two periods before falling apart in the final period by allowing the go-ahead-goal with just 2:03 remaining. Yes, it was a weak goal allowed by Henrik Lundqvist, an easy shot that he should've stopped, but the Rangers should've never been in that situation in the first place.
If it wasn’t for the Rangers' inability to finish and put the puck in the back of the net, the Blueshirts would’ve escaped with the victory.
Callahan was stopped by Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard on a crucial penalty shot in the second period and Christopher Higgins was also stopped on a break-a-way late in that same period (off of a great feed from Michael Del Zotto). The Rangers had plenty of chances to put the game away in the third period, especially with three power play opportunities, but they failed during each one.
This team needs to score more than one goal a game if they want to start stringing together some wins, but unfortunately they have been stuck in the same offensive rut for a month-and-a-half.
In fact, the Rangers have scored two goals or fewer in 13 of their last 17 games and have scored three goals or more just six times since their seven game win streak came to an end.
Despite these scoring struggles, the Rangers are showing signs of life.
After getting embarrassed by the Pittsburgh Penguins in back-to-back games, the Rangers have put together consecutive performances where they played like a competitive team. They need to build on the small things that they did right (against Buffalo and Detroit) and have some confidence when they travel to Chicago to face the feisty Blackhawks.
Lundqvist, along with the entire Rangers team, will need to play a complete game though. It will be even more important for King Henrik to avoid any late collapses in net.