How have the Rangers’ struggles on the power play affected their recent games?
The Rangers’ power play seemed like it had the potential to be great at the beginning of the season. With additions like Panarin and Trouba in addition to players like Zibanejad, Buchnevich, and DeAngelo, how could it not be? Yet a quarter of the way into the season, the Rangers powerplay has remained largely unimpressive, and even downright bad at times. Right now, their power play is ranked 15th in the league with an 18.8% success rate. It currently consists of Kreider, Zibanejad, Strome, Panarin, and Deangelo on the top unit and Buchnevich, Chytil, Kakko, Trouba, and Fox on the second.
The Rangers had six power-play opportunities against Vegas last night and couldn’t take advantage of any of them. The Rangers were simply unable to get anything going in the twelve minutes they were a man up, and Vegas did an effective job of shutting down any offense the Rangers managed to get going. The Rangers were only able to register 9 powerplay shots on goal the whole game, despite having 12 minutes of penalty time. In a game where the Rangers took too many risks and made a lot of sloppy mistakes, the powerplay could’ve been a chance to generate some offense and find their footing. Instead, it was a complete non-factor.
The powerplay was more successful in Saturday’s 4-0 win against New Jersey. In this game, the Rangers went 1/2 on the powerplay, with Fox scoring the game’s PPG. This was the first goal of the game and the Rangers built on it to score three more goals, two of which came short-handed. The whole team had a much more cohesive, sharp game despite the number of penalties they took. This style of play carried over the power play and enabled the second unit to be successful.
However, the power play’s moderate success against the Devils was preceded by the disaster in Boston. Once again, the Rangers went 0/6 on the powerplay, though Buchnevich’s first-period goal did come directly after the Rangers’ first power play of the night. However, the Rangers failed to capitalize on both a 5-on-3 and a 4-minute double minor in the third. Their inability to score cost them dearly. After the 5-on-3, the game’s momentum shifted completely in Boston’s favor, leading the Rangers to blow their two-goal lead and ultimately lose the game 3-2 in overtime
A good power play can make or break a game, and right now the Rangers seem to be more on the “breaking” side of that equation. Right now, some of the power-play struggles could be attributed to Zibanejad’s return as he slots back into the top unit. However, Quinn having three right-handed shots on the top unit is perplexing when he has three left-handed shots on the second one.
It makes the power-play units seem slightly unbalanced and could be a reason they have struggled to find cohesion.
In light of these two recent disasters, Quinn should consider changing up the units to see if that helps the Rangers find more chemistry on the man advantage.
Featured Image: Kathy Willens–Associated Press