by Patrick Hoffman on 02/13/11 at 02:02 PM ET
This is exactly how the New York Rangers should look at this afternoon’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Blueshirts are winless in their last six games and the streak has put them dangerously close to falling out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. The Carolina Hurricanes, who are in the eighth spot, and the Atlanta Thrashers, who are in the ninth spot, are both just two points behind the Rangers and each have games in hand.
The team’s offense must find ways to put pucks in the net on a more consistent basis. Marian Gaborik, and it seems like we have talked about him all season, needs to start scoring goals. He played well on Friday night against the Thrashers but could not score on the penalty shot he was awarded in the third period. Had he scored on the penalty shot, the team may have come away with a victory rather than a 3-2 loss.
The Rangers also need to start finding a way to close out games. During their winless streak, they haven’t been terrible by any means. In fact, they had a chance to win most of the games but simply could not find a way to do so. This needs to change immediately.
This season, the Rangers are a team that have worked hard and surprised many teams in the National Hockey League. That has not changed during the winless streak.
They are the same hockey team who just needs to find a way to win and get back on the right track. It begins this afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.