Take a look at the shots on goal from the previous 4 games. Keep in mind though, that the Rangers lost 3 out of 4 of these games, and their opponents earned 7 of the 8 possible points. Also keep in mind that the Rangers were outscored 14-7 in those games.
NY Rangers 29
New Jersey 17
NY Rangers 32
NY Rangers 25
NY Rangers 28
As you can see, the Rangers outshot their opponents by a wide margin in every game except against Carolina where the shots were about even. Let us ignore the fact that a combination of Henrik Lundqvist and Stephen Valiquette had a combined 3.5 GAA and that Lundqvist was pulled from the game against Toronto because that is a rare occurence in this season and the team has what to build on after a shutout against the red hot NJ Devils.
What they do not have what to build on is their offense. Of 114 shots, only 7 of them found the back of the net. In case you were wondering, that is a 4.86% shooting percentage. Of course, the Rangers fans love to blame the low offensive production on too much passing and not enough shooting. But that is not really correct. If you are outshooting your opponent by almost a 3:2 ratio and are averaging 28.5 shots per game, you should be scoring at least 2 goals per game.
So shooting is not the problem. The problem is the passing. Not the number of passes but the quality of passes. Those slam dunk, bang-bang, perfectly placed passes that lead to goals 2 out of 3 times. Those passes that every good team seems to come up with 5 to 10 times per game. That is what is missing. In the Official Language of Hockey, we call these plays "quality scoring chances". Its very nice to have 30 shots in a game but if 15 of them are from bad angles or soft wrist shots from the point or a PK clearing attempt that goes on net, your team will not, I repeat WILL NOT, score goals. No matter who you have on the ice.
The key for this Rangers squad and for every team in the NHL is to produce these chances by making good passes, good reads and good decisions. That is how a power play should be run as well. Not "Gomez along the boards, to Rozsival at the point, back to Gomez, now Rozsival, across to Drury, back to Rozsival". There needs to be creativity, brain flow, a play like this: "Gomez along the boards, cuts to the corner, passes to Jagr, Jagr moves to the middle, passes to a cutting Drury, across the crease to Shanahan, HE SCORES!"
A system is an important thing in hockey. It is important that a system be unpredictable, creative, productive and most of all executed. I dont want to point fingers but the Rangers system is very predictable, not creative, counter productive if anything and not well executed. As a result, a team with the firepower on offense to be top 5 in the league in goals is instead hovering around 30th in that catagory.
The solution is simple. It lies within how the game is played. It must be played with a system that will bring out the best in every player as well as create more scoring chances. It must give the players opportunities to make those slam dunk, bang-bang, perfect passes. It must make the power play unit swarm and move and get players in front and move the puck side to side to side instead of Gomez to Rozsival to Gomez. It must allow the forwards to gain the zone with the puck on their sticks instead of dumping and chasing and retreating and doing it all over again. It must include a strong forecheck that actually sends more than one halfhearted player to put pressure on in the neutral zone. It must create odd man rushes. It must make those 30 shots into 30 chances. I am sorry Mr. Tom Renney but changing the lines again is not going to help. It will not be easy to fix what is badly broken. It will take a lot of time, effort and disappointment but there is only one way to do it.
You must change the system.