- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Brad Richards' point was simple, yet summed up the Rangers' plan on offense.
"We've just got to do more," the center said.
With another seven-game series possibly on the horizon, the Rangers are hoping they can galvanize their offense entering Game 5 against Washington on Monday at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers have scored just nine goals in four games, and have tallied just five in their last 12 periods of hockey, including three overtimes.
"We have to shoot the puck more and create more offense and the only way we're going to do that is to get pucks to the net," captain Ryan Callahan said at the team's optional practice Sunday. "It's definitely something we need to improve on and get more of."
While the defense has been solid and Henrik Lundqvist has been stellar for the most part, the offense hasn’t held up it's end of the bargain thus far. After scoring three goals in the first game, the Rangers have failed to reach that mark in each game since.
Washington has received good play in net in the series and has used strong defense to keep the Rangers at bay, its players not afraid to throw their body in front of the pucks and block shots. In Saturday's game, Washington blocked 26 shots, six more than the total number of shots the Rangers had on goal in a 3-2 loss.
"Frustration, you can't let that creep in," said Callahan, who had two shots Saturday. "You have to keep banging away and we're not frustrated in here, we realized what we have to do and we just have to go out there and do it."
For as much as Washington has been stingy, the Rangers are saying it's all about what they need to do. Richards mentioned how it might mean beating a defender by a step. Marian Gaborik talked about being able get more pucks to the net and creating better angles.
"We just got to figure out some way to get more pucks in the blue, try to find ways to get some shots through and there's a lot of different ways you try to do that," head coach John Tortorella said. "I thought that was the weakest part of our game, not finishing up plays. There were certain times we had chance to make plays and we didn't. They did."
As the top seed in the playoffs, the Rangers have not made it easy for themselves in the playoffs. They went seven games in the first round, and could be destined for another series that goes to the limit. The team is confident moving forward.
"All year, any time there has been a big game we've rose to the occasion. We've been there for it," defenseman Michael Del Zotto said. "You look at last series, people were counting us out and expecting an upset and we come back and won two in a row. We have the confidence here and we've been through so much as a team this year and we believe in ourselves."
5dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald