After Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, Rangers fans were ecstatic about the power play. They went 2-for-3 and for the first time in god knows how long, it looked like the power play might be a difference-maker in a seven-game series. Fast forward 11 days, and the Rangers are back to having an inept power play.
The power play is the reason the Rangers won Game 1, but since then the man advantage unit has looked discombobulated. The entry passes are not crisp, no one wants to shoot the puck and there is no net presence to bother the Flyers’ goaltenders. The power play is now on a 0-for-15 run, and need some changes in order for the Rangers to win Game 6.
First off, Alain Vigneault needs to get someone in front of the net. Whether it is Rick Nash, Benoit Pouliot or even Brian Boyle, a big body has to be in front of Flyers goalie Steve Mason. Mason, for the most part, is going to stop everything he sees. Goals are going to be scored in dirty areas, especially in an elimination game where the intensity is going to be ramped up.
Next, Nash needs to get going on the power play. He only has seven power play points this season. That is atrocious for a player of Nash’s stature. He needs to get his big body in front of the crease and battle for position. That is how he is going to get his goals.
Finally, the team needs to shoot the puck. Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Derrick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan McDonagh are the trigger men on the power play. They are all set up to shoot, especially Richards. Too many times this series, and for most of the season, they have been hesitant to shoot the puck.
A pretty good hockey player named Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take”. It is time to fire away on the power play. The Rangers are 0-for-11 when leading a series, an NHL record. For the Rangers to put away the pesky Flyers, they need their power play to come through. It is time for these units to step up and produce.