Despite being on a four-game winning streak, some concerns remain around the New York Rangers. Their return from the All-Star Break has been impressive, taking all of six possible points from their last three games. The wins and the points might be pretty, but their play, especially on Friday, has been the complete opposite. Monday’s win over the Colorado Avalanche was a defensive masterclass on the back of Jonathan Quick. Wednesday’s victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning was oddly similar, with depth scoring being the main focal point. The Rangers were lucky, yes lucky, to escape with both points in a 4-3 overtime thriller over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.

The start was not ideal for Igor Shesterkin, letting up a goal from Alex Vlasic less than three minutes into the contest. For the rest of the period, Shesterkin looked more comfortable, even chucking a couple of “knucks” in the process. Shesterkin, however, would be the victim in the middle of a defensive collapse for New York, giving up two goals in the final six minutes of the third period. After blowing a two-goal lead, New York would end the bleeding courtesy of a Mika Zibanejad overtime winner. Although a win is indeed a win, these New York Rangers concerns are alarming heading into the latter part of the season.

New York Rangers Concerns

A Power play Currently In Hibernation

New York’s identity in recent years has revolved around a successful power-play unit. For a team that has struggled at even strength, they seem to always make it up on the man-advantage. This was still the case in the early stages of the current season. When the first unit took to the ice, it was practically a guarantee that they would capitalize on at least one of their chances. The same cannot be said on this most recent run of play.

Now, the top unit are simply trying to do too much with the puck instead of shooting it whenever there is an open window. In their last six games, the Rangers are 0-14 with the extra attackers. Their last powerplay goal was scored on January 21 in Anaheim when Vincent Trocheck and Artemi Panarin both tallied powerplay goals. For the amount of skill on this roster, it is almost pathetic at this point. Even when Adam Fox missed nearly a month back in November, the powerplay was still in safe hands when Erik Gustafsson filled in for the quarterback role. What exactly is the problem surround the Rangers powerplay?

Peter Laviolette was fed up with the lack of productivity that even started the second unit on their final power play of the game on Friday. Searching for any kind of spark, New York, once again, failed to capitalize on the free offensive chance. Are their simply too many cooks in the kitchen? Who is the odd man out? Do not be surprised if Laviolette has some tricks up his sleeve and switches things around.

Stop Blaming Shesterkin For Defensive Collapses

The final frame of the period was neither good or bad, just plain ugly. Nick Foligno‘s goal was a case of just plain, old puck-watching. Jason Dickinson‘s equalizer was just a beautiful deflection that you cannot do anything about. This was not the ideal start for Igor Shesterkin, yet it was not the worst.

All three goals were not the netminders fault. Yes, he conceded them, but the players in front of him need to do a better job knowing the situation. If a puck is in sitting in the crease, clear it. In a one-goal game, let your goaltender see the puck. By keeping your structure and allowing your goaltender to keep his eyes clear, the odds of clearing the puck increase. It’s simple hockey and New York still find a way to make things more complicated then they have to be. At least New York is impressive when it comes to the 3-on-3 overtime, now having a record of 6-1 thanks to Zibanejad’s winner.

The moral of the story is this: stop giving Shesterkin the Jacob deGrom treatment. This all might be messing with his head, and that is nowhere near good, especially for a netminder. Keep cheering him on. Give him your trust. After all, it is his job to keep those pucks out of the net.

Main photo by: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.