How the Rangers can break out of their recent slump

New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) passes the puck away from Florida Panthers defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (91) during the first period at Amerant Bank Arena
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have had their fair share of ups and downs so far this season, as their 36-game showing has been filled with both elite and abysmal performances. Earlier this year, the Blueshirts appeared to go through a terrible defensive slump when mixed with injuries and mediocre goaltending, became a concerning string of losses. It appeared as though the problem had been eradicated, but the Rangers may not be out of trouble just yet.

The Rangers’ last 10 games do not hold a pretty record

In their last 10 games played, the Blueshirts have a mediocre record of just 6-4-0. Their wins have been dominant, but their losses haven’t been close. Just when it seems like things are finally back on track, it quickly gets derailed by another embarrassing defeat. In their most recent game against Carolina, the Rangers took a devastating 6-1 loss to the Hurricanes.

It’s strange to see the Blueshirts play so inconsistently given their elite potential. Going from a blowout victory over Tampa Bay to a blowout loss to Carolina is a confusing reality, but HC Peter Laviolette needs to find a way to shift the momentum back in favor of New York.

The Rangers have the chance to bounce back again against Chicago

Tomorrow evening, the Blueshirts will face off against the Chicago Blackhawks. New York currently ranks second overall in the league while Chicago ranks second to last, so the odds are heavily in favor of the Rangers. Following such a terrible defeat to Carolina, the Blueshirts are in desperate need of a victory — and they might have just added the piece to help them do so.

On Wednesday, the Rangers recalled top prospect Brennan Othmann from the Hartford Wolf Pack. Their right wing has been a major problem throughout the season, and with Tyler Pitlick now out with injury, the spotlight is on Othmann to make strides as an NHL player.

The defense remains an issue, but at least now with the addition of Othmann in the offensive corps, things should hopefully get back on track for the Rangers tomorrow night.

How can the defensive issues be solved?

It’s difficult to analyze the main problem residing within the defensive corps. In some games, they look like the best defense in the NHL, and in others, they look like pylons on the ice. K’Andre Miller has been a culprit of this inconsistency, as he transitions from a Norris-caliber defenseman to a traffic cone on a daily basis.

Fans have discussed potentially trading for a new defenseman to replace a somewhat average Braden Schneider, but the Rangers simply do not have enough cap space to fill every hoke on their roster. At this point, it seems as if the defense needs to be fixed through practice and elite coaching.

Laviolette has done wonders to improve almost every aspect of the team, but now he just needs to find a way to bring consistency. The Rangers have proved that they are Stanley Cup contenders when at their best, but when they’re not, non-playoff teams find ways to blow them out.

The clock is ticking for the Rangers to solve their problems

The NHL trade deadline is set for March 8th this season. With the list of potential concerns growing, the Rangers need to figure out what can be solved internally immediately. They won’t have enough money to trade for everyone at the deadline, so the clock is most certainly ticking for Laviolette to solve as many problems on his own right away.

When it’s all said and done, the Rangers still remain one of the best teams in the NHL. The cracks in the lineup are not as large as in seasons prior, so there is hope that Laviolette and Chris Drury can work magic once again to perfect the roster and give the Rangers a solid shot at bringing the Cup home.

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