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Friday, February 15, 2013
Concerned about evaporating leads?

By Matt Ehalt

Over the past two games, multiple-goal leads have not been kind to the Rangers.

Tuesday, the Rangers squandered a 3-0 lead after two periods versus the Bruins. They won in a shootout, 4-3. Thursday, a 2-0 lead in the second against the Islanders went by the wayside and the Rangers lost 4-3 in the shootout to drop to 7-5-1.

Defenseman Marc Staal isn't concerned with those struggles despite it happening in back-to-back games.

“I don’t think it’s a concern, I think it’s just a mental focus and making sure that you can’t take shifts off," Staal said Thursday following the loss to the Islanders. "You take one or two off and they get the momentum. It’s tough to get it back, so staying sharp and making sure we play a much tougher game for a full 60 minutes is something we need to learn to do and do consistently.”

Before blowing these leads, though, the Rangers had done a great job of protecting their leads, making it more surprising that the team had lapses over the past two games. Here's a look at the numbers:

• In the first 11 games, the Rangers had only wasted a multiple-goal lead once, on Jan. 23 against Boston, and still managed to win that game in the shootout. After that win, the Rangers didn't blow advantages in their next five wins, and had protected three leads entering the third period.

• After the last two games, the Rangers have now held multiple-goal edges in eight games and wasted them in three of those eight. The Rangers have gone 7-1 in those contests.

• When holding a lead entering the third period, the Rangers are undefeated at 5-0, but have seen those leads evaporate in two games, both against Boston. For some reason the Bruins have been masters of the comeback when facing the Rangers this year.

• Oddly enough, Thursday's loss marked the first time the Rangers held a lead in a game they lost.

QUESTION: Are these last two games just aberrations or are you concerned with the Rangers blowing leads? Let us know in the comments section below.