The Rangers’ inconsistent play has been a growing concern as of late

New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) celebrates his goal with center Mika Zibanejad (93), right wing Blake Wheeler (17) and left wing Chris Kreider (20) during the second period against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers remain the NHL’s leader in points percentage heading into the second quarter of the season. Wins have been flowing in left and right as the Blueshirts have managed to conquer all but five matchups through 23 games played. With elite coaching and players performing at career bests, everything seems to be going well for the incredible 18-4-1 Rangers.

Despite holding the best record in the league, there has been one major problem brewing recently. The Blueshirts have been inconsistent in a handful of their last few games. This has led to some defeats, as well as the task of forcing comeback attempts against easier opponents.

Poor play caused the Rangers’ to fall to Buffalo

Back on November 27th, the Rangers took a devastating blowout loss to the Buffalo Sabres. It was easily the worst performance the Blueshirts have put on this season, and they deserved to lose by the way they played.

It was clear that the Rangers were going to lose against the Sabres within the first ten minutes of the game. They couldn’t control the puck and passes seemed impossible to complete. It was completely unlike anything fans have seen so far this season and caused some concern as the Blueshirts crumbled to a team sitting at 24th overall in the NHL.

Of course, it’s impossible to win every single game in the season. The Rangers were bound to take a loss at some point, but nobody could have expected it would come in this fashion. There would have been no worries caused by this game had the problem ended right then and there.

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The Rangers have narrowly beaten their last three opponents

Following their defeat to the Sabres, the Rangers have managed to secure three straight wins over the Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, and the San Jose Sharks. Things may seem to have gotten back on track following the loss, but every game was closer than what fans would have liked to see.

While playing against Detroit, the Blueshirts narrowly escaped with a 3-2 victory. After taking an early lead with a goal from Artemi Panarin, the Red Wings quickly took over a few minutes later with two goals in less than 30 seconds. Had there not been late-game heroics from K’Andre Miller and Jimmy Vesey, this could have easily turned into another loss for the Rangers.

Last night, against Nashville, the Rangers ended the first period being down 2-0 versus the Predators. The Blueshirts were able to quickly turn things around in the second and ended up finishing with a 4-2 victory, but their performance in the first period was inexcusable.

The game against the Sharks was quite hectic. The Rangers had to make two one-goal comebacks in the first period alone, but then later managed to take a commanding 6-3 lead thanks to an Artemi Panarin hat-trick and some help from others. The Sharks made a strong comeback attempt to bring the score to 6-5 as the Blueshirts’ defense once again crumbled, but New York was ultimately able to escape with a win.

How concerned should fans be about this issue?

At the end of the day, the Rangers remain the NHL’s leader in points percentage. Seeing the level of inconsistency on the ice has caused a growing concern, but as long as the team continues to win, there’s no need to hit the panic button.

At a certain point, however, the Blueshirts will need to construct a formula that includes a full 60 minutes of elite play. This type of sloppiness and laziness will not work in a playoff atmosphere and could cause major issues down the road.