On Thursday night, Derek Stepan led the Rangers with six shots on goal but was once again held off the score sheet as his goalless streak to start the season continues.
Stepan has been stopped on all 19 of his shot attempts this season and told ESPN NY yesterday that he doesn’t expect his first one to be described as anything other than ugly, “It’s not going to be a pretty one that goes in. I think it’s going to be one that bounces off somebody, bounces off me, off anything. I think that’s the mindset you have to have. You have to keep working and keep doing things the right way and hopefully get a bounce here or there.”
Carl Hagelin, Stepan’s linemate on Thursday, was asked about Stepan’s struggles at the Rangers website and said, “He wants to get that first one. He wants to shoot more pucks and if you don’t shoot pucks you aren’t going to score. There are so many things that happen when you take a shot.”
On faceoffs this season, Stepan is 45 and 42.
Stepan has said that he is determined to reach “the next level” of his game.
Adam Rotter: A lot of what the Rangers talk about and taking that next step, reaching another level, is dependent on Stepan doing the same and becoming a consistent 60-70 point second line center that can take a little pressure off the top line. He is only 22, he won’t be 23 until the middle of the Stanley Cup Finals, but if the Rangers want to win this year, they need him to raise his level offensively. Stepan has taken on a bigger role as a PKer, but it’s on the PP where Stepan needs to make a big impact. I think Stepan has an All-Star future, but the Rangers need him at a better level than he is at now if they want to get things straight.