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What is wrong with the Rangers’ power play?

Bobby Bevilacqua

keith yandle and ryan mcdonagh hi five 4-7

Ryan McDonagh and Keith Yandle combined for a power play goal in last night’s game, but what do they need to do to improve the Rangers’ numbers on the man advantage? Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Last night, the Rangers defeated the Devils 4-2 to clinch the President’s Trophy for the first time in 21 years, performing pretty well overall. They practically shut down the Devils at even strength, had 40 shots on goal, and were very solid defensively.

But despite that performance, there was one blemish in the game; the power play. The Rangers had multiple opportunities to bury the Devils early, with four separate power play opportunities in the second period alone, and a 1:27 five-on-three opportunity in the first period. Despite having seven power play opportunities, the Rangers managed to score just once.

After a string of success on the man advantage, the Rangers have fallen all the way to 21st in the NHL on the power play, sitting at just a 16.8% conversion rate.They have scored just three goals in their last 53 opportunities on the man advantage, despite having quality chances, good shooting lanes, and some bad luck when it comes to hot goalies and hitting the crossbar.

So the question remains, what is wrong with the Rangers’ power play?

Frankly, there really isn’t anything wrong with the power play. They’re doing the right things, but they are just doing way too much. Their problem is an easy fix.

When it comes to passing and puck moving, the Rangers are elite in that aspect. With all of the skill and talent on the team, they consistently find the man with an open shooting lane. The puck movement last night was impeccable, but that has never been the problem with the Rangers’ power play.

brassard and zuccarello 2-8

Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello are both fantastic passers, and that has never been the problem with the Rangers on the power play. The puck movement is there, the shooting is not. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

What tends to happen is the players on the ice get too fancy, and are always looking for the perfect pass instead of getting a shot on goal. That is really the only problem. The opportunities are there, but the Rangers skaters just have a slow trigger finger.

Let’s review some of the Rangers recent power play goals to see exactly what they need to do.

Ryan McDonagh’s power play goal last night was a perfect example of what the Rangers need to do more often. It wasn’t anything spectacular, just a well-placed wrist shot through a screen. After winning the faceoff, the Rangers make two passes to find the open man, and score. Rick Nash and Kevin Hayes were in front, meaning Schneider never saw the puck, and it went in. Simple and effective.

Rick Nash scored on the power play in last Thursday’s win over the Minnesota Wild. Again, after a faceoff win, Derick Brassard and Ryan McDonagh were passing the puck around the point while waiting for a lane to open up for someone down low. Rick Nash got the puck practically parallel to goaltender Devan Dubnyk, saw a small hole, and shot the puck on net. It wound up deflecting off Dubnyk’s arm and into the net from an impossible angle. Just getting shots on goal can sometimes lead to lucky bounces.

Derick Brassard scored a power play goal on March 31st against the Winnipeg Jets. After passing the puck back and forth near the blue line, a lane opened up for Brassard to shoot, with Rick Nash screening in front. Brassard blasted a slapshot past Pavelec to tie the game at two goals apiece. Again, it was simply passing until a shooting lane opened up, and then firing a shot on net.

All of these goals are all simple. There is nothing flashy going on, no excessive passing, just getting shots on net. And that’s really all the Rangers need to do in order to start scoring more power play goals. Continue to be an excellent puck moving team, but don’t be hesitant to pull the trigger and take a shot whenever you get the chance.

ryan mcdonagh shooting 3-18

The Rangers’ power play woes are an easy fix. All they need to do is start shooting more. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

 

Not only will some of these shots find the back of the net, low shots for rebounds creates rebound opportunities. It can cause havoc in front of the crease, and lead to an out of position goalie, or an opposing player down on the ice.

With guys like Keith Yandle, Ryan McDonagh, Dan Boyle, and Derick Brassard on the team, the Rangers should be taking shots from the point whenever they have the chance. And with guys like Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, and Kevin Hayes to set screens and clean up the rebounds, there’s a good chance those shots will go in.

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Posted on April 8, 2015, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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