LCS Hockey: Born Again
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January 22, 2019
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Broadway Closing Soon



The New York Rangers are fresh off a successful five-game road trip, capturing seven of a possible 10 points to remain near the top of the Atlantic with a 27-16-4 record. But itís not all puppet shows and candy canes.

Five-on-five scoring is perhaps the best indicator of a teamís potential playoff fortunes. The filthy Red Wings led the league last season with a 1.41 five-on-five scoring ratio. This season, the Boston Bruins are far and away the best in the league with a 1.60 ratio, scoring 39 more even-strength goals than theyíve allowed. The New Jersey Devils are second in the olí five-on-five ratio at 1.33, followed by Chicago (1.29), Detroit (1.29), Columbus (1.29 - who canceled?), and San Jose (1.24).

The Rangers, who are dead even in overall goal-differential, have a 0.95 five-on-five ratio, ranking them 15th in the league. Theyíve scored 75 even-strength goals and allowed 79. Not exactly division-winning material.

Teams can compensate for mediocre five-on-five play with spectacular special teams. And the Rangers boast the best penalty killing in the league, murdering opposing power plays at a staggering 87.8% clip. Sustaining that pace could be rough. Since the lockout, only four teams have been able to crack the 86.0 mark, with the 2005-06 Minnesota Wild leading the way at 87.4%.

Unfortunately, the Rangers are nowhere near as productive with the man-advantage, converting a mere 14.8% of their power-play chances, good for 27th in the league. Thatís trouble. Combine the pitiful power play with their lackluster five-on-five scoring, and the Blueshirts have no margin for error. Theyíre going to have to ride Henrik Lundqvist and their penalty killing to victory most nights. And that could be a winning recipe if their top two blueliners werenít Michal freakiní Rozsival and Wade Redden.

Up front, Nikolai Zherdev leads the team with 12 goals and 38 points in 47 games. And you want to be my latex salesman? Chris Drury is second on the team with 31 points, Scott Gomez has 30, and Markus Naslund is fourth with 28. So if anyone ever asks how much suck you can buy for $18.3 million, now you know.

Combined plus-minus is another swell little stat. Basically, add up all the plus-minus ratings for everyone on the roster. Boston is again tops with a +249. The Islanders are the worst at -231. The Rangers rank 21st at -69. The Blueshirts are the only current playoff team outside the top 16. I have a feeling thatís where theyíre gonna be when the season ends, too.

Itís only a matter of time before the Rangers collapse. Look out below.


COMBINED PLUS-MINUS (through Sunday, January 18)

 1. Boston        +249
 2. Chicago       +156
 3. Detroit       +131
 4. San Jose      +117
 5. New Jersey    +103
 6. Montreal       +96
 7. Washington     +66 
 8. Columbus       +65
 9. Vancouver      +54
10. Philadelphia   +32
11. Florida        +30
12. Anaheim        +23
13. Edmonton       +17
14. Pittsburgh     +14
15. Calgary        -18
16. Colorado       -30
17. Phoenix        -46
18. Tampa Bay      -54
19. Dallas         -62
20. Minnesota      -64
21. NY Rangers     -69
22. Buffalo        -73
23. Nashville      -78
24. Atlanta        -84
25. Los Angeles    -84 
26. Carolina       -90
27. Ottawa         -99
28. Toronto       -107
29. St. Louis     -128
30. NY Islanders  -231



LCS Hockey: Born Again
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