For the last three seasons and especially in last year’s playoffs, the New York Rangers‘ power play has struggled mightily and cost them wins. One of the hottest issues this offseason after the Rangers brought in Alain Vigneault was if he could improve the special teams unit, and so far the returns have been good.
Through four preseason games the Rangers’ power play numbers may not stand out (two goals in 15 chances, 13 percent conversion) but the amount of scoring chances they have generated shows that there is reason to be optimistic for success. Under direction of assistant coach Scott Arniel, the Rangers have created more opportunities by moving the puck with purpose and speed as well as getting more shots on net (the Rangers have outshot their opponent in three of four games this preseason).
These basic principles of the power play haven’t come easy to the Rangers in recent seasons, but it seems as though those days may be over. After starting 0-for-9 in the first two games, the Rangers’ power play has converted on two of their last six opportunities. Both goals scored by defensemen, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, continues to show the emphasis Vigneault puts on his defense to create offense.
With two preseason games left and the Rangers still yet to use a full NHL lineup it will be interesting to see if the team can build off the power play’s success from the last two games. If the Rangers have finally fixed their anemic power play, expect to see a large increase in goals scored for the Blueshirts this season.
Martin Burns covers the New York Rangers for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter!