More and more, I think the Rangers and Stars are the same team.
The Rangers have a slightly better record, but basically, you have two defensive teams having trouble tightening up in the clutch, as seen in Dallas’ Monday night loss to Tampa, where the Stars gave up three goals in the third. You can ignore the Rangers 4-2 win over the Ducks last night and instead focus on Sunday’s loss to the Penguins.
These are two teams that try and execute a defensive system, but can’t implement it successfully. They’re not scoring goals and they’re not preventing goals. It’s the worst of both worlds.
Both teams also feature coaches struggling with their lines. Rangers coach Tom Renney has become notorious for his line-switching and Dallas coach Dave Tippett is starting to lean that way, with Mark Parrish back on the second line.
Lines are an issue for both teams because of the construction of the teams. Both teams are primarily two-way forwards and/or playmakers, without a true finisher. Although, at least Dallas has Loui Eriksson. But in the absence of more than one pure goalscorer (and the Rangers would kill for at least one), there’s not much a coach can do to spread out the scoring and create a true first-line threat for opposing teams to have to deal with.
How do Dallas and the Rangers get out of this? With the salary cap, it’s tough. The Stars can hope they find someone willing to give up a scoring winger for Sean Avery. The Rangers can hope they find someone willing to take a porous defenseman for a scoring winger. But realistically, it seems both teams need to tread water until summer free agency shakes loose some second-tier forwards.
But maybe it’s not even that dire. The Thrashers have gotten a huge boost just by plucking Rich Peverley off of waivers for Ilya Kovalchuk. Of course, you could argue the Rangers and Stars are both already stocked with Peverleys…