At the end of the second period of the Rangers 10/31 game against Vegas, Joe Micheletti remarked, "until this team learns how to defend and do a better job defending it's going to be a tough go."
The Rangers rank 9th in shot attempts allowed and 5th in shots on goal allowed (all situations), and at 5 on 5 they rank 4th in shot attempts against and 2nd in shots on goal against. (Natural Stat Trick)
Over the course of the season, in all situations, the Rangers have had
- October: 760 shot attempts for, 729 against, 417 shots on goal for, 413 against, 40 goals for, 46 against
- November: 675 shot attempts for, 734 against, 378 shots on goal for, 387 against, 41 goals for, 30 goals against
- December: 689 shot attempts for, 844 against, 401 shots on goal for, 480 against, 37 goals for, 27 against
- January: 223 shot attempts for, 259 against, 121 shots on goal for, 141 against, 7 goals for, 10 against
Following a Rangers win over Tampa Bay in early November, Henrik Lundqvist said that everything starts in their own end and that the Rangers play well when they stop forcing things, stick to the game plan and make simple plays with the puck.
After beating the Red Wings right after Thanksgiving, Lundqvist said that when the Rangers control the middle of the ice they defend better, break out better and add more speed.
Alain Vigneault said after the Rangers beat the Capitals that they need to play in the frame of mind of moving pucks quickly and getting up the ice quickly.
Mika Zibanejad said that lately the Rangers have been turning the puck over because they are trying to do too much and that they need to clean up some areas of their game. (NY Post)
Adam Rotter: The defense as a whole has been bad for the Rangers for a while and the only thing that has saved them from plummeting in the standings is their goaltending. Ultimately Henrik and Pavelec are the last line of defense but the Rangers are forcing their goalies to play at a near superhuman level most nights because of the poor decisions and poor positioning from the players in front. They need to stop forcing things, they need to make better decisions with the puck and they need to play a simple game. If they can do that then they should be able to cut down on the amount of time they spend in their zone and instead spend that time trying to create offense.