The New York Rangers survived round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with an almost non-existent power play. They won’t survive round two if they continue to stink with a man advantage.
The Rangers scored three power play goals in the first two games of their first-round series, but it was all downhill from there. In the final five games of the series, New York combined to go a horrendous 0-for-17 on the power play. Enough said; New York needs to score on the power play against the Pittsburgh Penguins in round two.
The Penguins had the fifth-ranked penalty kill during the regular season, so New York will need to play well with a man advantage if they want to solve the Pens’ penalty kill.
So how can they achieve some power play success? For starters, they need to keep it simple and get shots to the net whenever given the chance. New York had just four shots on goal combined during five Game 6 power plays. Less than a shot per power play is simply not good enough.
Face-offs are also going to be key when the Rangers get power play chances. The Rangers had a hard time setting up during round one, mainly because they would start most power plays with a lost face-off followed by a clear the length of the ice. The Rangers need to send two or three players against the boards to help maintain possession on the power play.
The Rangers have plenty of talented players, but at times in the first round New York would make one pass too many instead of taking the chance to shoot. The Rangers have scored some beautiful power play goals during this season, but you don’t get points for glamor. New York needs to simplify their attack as much as possible.
Another key to a dangerous New York attack is their speed through the neutral zone. A quick pace to the game benefits the Rangers, and they need speed on the power play. The Rangers were able to beat the Philadelphia Flyers because they dominated 5-on-5 play, so they didn’t need to rely on their power play that much. That’s going to change, as the Penguins are a much better team at even strength than the Flyers.
The Rangers’ special teams could end up winning or losing the upcoming series with the Penguins, and it’s going to start with the power play.