Mailbag: Rangers' struggles cause for concern –

What is going on with the New York Rangers? Still early, but who’s to blame here and what can they do to right the ship? — @HeyimbanuPeter

These are loaded questions for the 2-6-2 Rangers. I don’t think there is a definitive answer for any of them. That’s why I question if the Rangers will be able to fight their way back into the Stanley Cup Playoff race. Are they going through an early-season slump, or is this just what they are this season? They’ve played about 12 percent of their games and they have two wins. It’s already getting late.

I’m based out of the New York area, so I see the Rangers more than I see the other 30 teams. When you watch them consistently, you see their glaring issues. The blame is collective. It goes around to everybody. The most notable issue they have is how they’re starting games. They’ve allowed the first goal within the first 2:40 of the first period in five of their 10 games, and are consistently chasing games. That’s a tough way to win, especially when you’re not finishing on Grade A chances at 5-on-5 and your power play is generating looks but rarely scores. The Rangers are 4-for-32 on the power play in the past eight games. And that’s all on offense. The Rangers quickly lose their structure in the defensive zone, and goalie Henrik Lundqvist is allowing one or more, quote-unquote, soft goals per game. 

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said the problems are not personnel-based. He’s defending his players. He’s not going to throw them under the bus. However, the Rangers’ lack of depth at center is glaring, so much so that Vigneault has dressed three the past two games, choosing to play seven defensemen instead. That’s a personnel problem.

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