Rangers have seemed to ‘buy-in’ to Laviolette’s system with positive results after 3 games

New York Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette coaches against the Arizona Coyotes during the third period at Madison Square Garden

A 2-1 record for the New York Rangers verifies the team’s ability to adapt and implement the coach’s new system

The New York Rangers had plenty of concerns in the preseason. Their overall record (1-5) was a learning curve of what new head coach Peter Laviolette was trying to teach the team.

Just three games into the Rangers’ season, the players have accepted the new style of play, and the head coach has been happy with what he has seen, though he admits there are more things to improve on.

“It is getting better and better,” Laviolette said. “From where we were in game three of the exhibition season, or when we were bumping into each other in practice trying to figure out how we’re going to move as a group, I do see more continuity and more fluidness to our game. But there’s still things there and we’ll just continue to teach. The players, they’re on board, they’re trying to understand and get it.”

Peter Laviolette via Dan Rosen of NHL.com

Defensive Scheme Allows for More Offense

A 1-3-1 defensive setup has caused fits for the Ranger’s recent opponents.

In the Rangers’ win over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night, there were multiple times the Coyote players would stop skating with the puck on their end of the ice. The players didn’t know how to advance the puck into the neutral zone.

Rangers forward Vincent Trocheck spoke about the team’s new style and what it was like to play against this system when he battled former Laviolette teams.

“Yeah, it’s frustrating to play against,” Trocheck said. “I mean I’ve played against Pete’s teams in this League for a long time, and it’s really frustrating when you’re a guy that likes to take the puck through the neutral zone with speed. It’s tight in there.”

Vincent Trocheck via Dan Rosen

Growing pains are something every new coach goes through early on in a season.

Surprisingly, this mix of young players and veterans have all grasped the idea of this style of play and have the common goal of making it work sooner rather than later.

The Blueshirts have come out with a new attitude. Backchecking, fore-checking, and skating hard throughout each shift has given this team a “we can’t lose” attitude.

Despite the team losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, they felt they played well. The loss resulted from a few defensive breakdowns and two disallowed goals in the first period.

“They kept showing advanced analytics on the jumbotron and it felt like we were leading in every category,” forward Vincent Trocheck said. “Considering new systems and everything and only having training camp and a couple games to get into everything, figure out all the systems, I think we’re playing great. Most importantly, our defensive game has been so solid.”

Vincent Trocheck via NHL.COM

The Rangers are trending in the right direction

Seventy-nine games remain, but the team is trending in the right direction. They are scoring goals, playing strong defense, and having one of the best goalkeepers in the NHL.

The hard part now is to keep learning, stay confident, and know how the team will respond when adversity hits the locker room.

For now, other than not going 3-0, this has been an excellent start for Laviolette and the Blueshirts.

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