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NHL New York Rangers

New York Rangers Need Strong Special Teams Play To Continue

New York Ramngers PK PP

Debby Wong – USA TODAY Sports

After dropping the first two games of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Washington Capitals, the New York Rangers have fought back and evened up the series with a pair of wins of their own. The Rangers have used special teams success to record their back-to-back wins over the Capitals, and keeping the power play and penalty kill units rolling could be the key that helps them take the edge in this first-round series.

After scoring just one goal in the first two games of the series, the Rangers’ offense has exploded for four goals in each of the last two games. While they won games three and four by identical 4-3 scores, that’s not where the trends stop for the Rangers. In both of the wins, the Rangers have killed off every power play the Capitals have had, five in total. That’s a great turnaround for a penalty kill unit that ranked 15th in the league during the regular season and had allowed a power play goal in each of the first two games of the series.

On the other end of the special teams equation, the Rangers have scored a power play goal in each of their two wins. They had not converted in seven chances in the first two games, and could still stand to see more success with the man-advantage as their two goals cam from a combined 10 chances. Dan Girardi and Derick Brassard have the power play goals for the Rangers, and Brassard leads the team with five points.

The Rangers still need more from Rick Nash, who has just one assist in four games. They also need a stronger effort from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, a Vezina Trophy finalist who isn’t helping them by allowing a combined 10 goals in four games.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL senior writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.