New York Rangers continued power play success could be key to making the playoffs
In a 56 game schedule, the New York Rangers will need to take advantage of every opportunity to get a win. The power-play could be a deciding factor between a top four standing in the division or being on the outside looking in once the playoffs begin.
New York Rangers power play
Last season, the Rangers finished the shortened 2019-2020 season ranked seventh (22.9%) in the NHL with the man advantage.
Playing in the toughest division in the league this season that now includes the Boston Bruins, who finished last season ranked second on the power play (25.2%), the Rangers will need to maintain or improve on their percentage to find success this year.
The Blueshirts scored 52 power-play goals last season. The Rangers lineup had 12 players who scored at least one power-play goal last year. Mika Zibanejad led the team in scoring 15 power-play goals. Chris Kreider scored nine PPG’s, followed by Artemi Panarin who found the back of the net seven times.
Panarin had 17 power-play helpers, with Anthony DeAngelo a close second in power-play assists with 16 and Ryan Strome with 14.
Need more production from the PP’s top guys
The most noticeable factor with the club’s man advantage numbers is the drop in production after the power play points leader. The highest goal scorer after Panarin’s seven PPG’s are Pavel Buchnevich and defenseman Jacob Trouba who both scored four times.
The situation with assists when a man up was slightly better. Adam Fox and Zibanejad both had 12 helpers. That was followed by Kaapo Kakko who had 11 helpers.
David Quinn needs to find more consistency in man-advantage goals beyond Zibanejad. When asked about the PP in camp, he did say he would go with the hot hands once the season starts.
Rangers have a lot of options
One thing that is certain to happen is the club will keep the number one power play unit together from last season. That unit consisted of Ryan Strome, along with Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Tony DeAngelo, and Chris Kreider.
The Ranges do have other options, such as using Alexis Lafreniere once he settles in a little with the likes of either Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, and Pavel Buchnevich. A mix of those four forwards could create a new dynamic on a second unit. Adam Fox would likely be used on the point or Jacob Trouba. The second unit normally goes with the traditional three forwards, two defensemen format but that means one of the big guns just mentioned will be bumped out.
A strong power-play will put fear into the oppositions defenseman which sometimes leads to them playing less aggressive agains the Blueshirts top players at even strength. When it comes to regular season success, there’s nothing like good speciality teams.
The Rangers need to find every advantage for them to finish in the top four of the MassMutual East Division. If they do, when the season concludes on May 8 in Boston, they could be invited to the Stanley Cup dance.