The New York Rangers had a golden opportunity to go up 2-0 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Eastern Conference semifinal series, but the Rangers’ power play, which has struggled since the beginning of Game 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers, killed the Rangers momentum and cost them this opportunity.
For the most part, the Rangers’ power play was solid during the regular season. Brad Richards and Ryan McDonagh were doing a great job of quarterbacking the man advantage, and players like Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider and Benoit Pouliot providing a finishing touch.
Martin St. Louis was supposed to put this unit over the top, and made a difference when he first came to the team. Since a solid start in the postseason which saw the Rangers go 3-of-8 over the first game and a period, the power play has just gone to the bottom of the barrel, going 0-of-28.
There are a lot of reasons why the power play has fallen off, but the main reason has to be the lack of movement, and I am not talking about puck movement. The easiest way to score a power play goal is to have players constantly moving. When your players are standing still, it accomplishes nothing. You aren’t making the penalty killers work especially hard, and there are very few holes to make passes.
Players then try to force passes across the slot area, which is usually home to a penalty killer because no one is moving without the puck.
There really isn’t a lot of tinkering to do with lack of movement. That has to come from the players, as the coaches can only do so much. All they can do is put out the players and tell the players what type of power play they want to run during practice. The Rangers’ players need to get the power play going, and they need to start moving more. Or else, the special teams unit will continue to look lost.