New York Rangers power play and Mika Zibanejad need to make some changes to break slump
Mika Zibanejad has one goal on the season. It occurred in game three of the season against the NJ Devils on the power play in a 4-3 loss. Since that game, the Rangers have only scored 3 power play goals on 26 tries over the next 7 games.
The Rangers leading goal scorer has mustered just one assist since, and that was last night on an empty net goal.
Mika Zibanejad and Rangers Power Play struggling
After Mika Zibanejad scored 41 goals in just 57 games last season, no one in the NHL is unaware who he is. Matter of fact, you can see coaches are actually game-planning for the 27 year-old star center.
Ask yourself when was the last time Mika Zibanejad got off a clean shot? How many times has his stick been checked just as he’s about to fire one off? Almost every time this season.
What about the power play? You can see him set up at the circle but there’s always someone there to block the lane. Opposing team’s penalty killers won’t let him beat them. At this point, it would be wiser for the Rangers to use him as a decoy on the man advantage.
The Rangers PP is clicking at a 14.36% rate. That’s almost 7 points behind the NHL average of 21.30%. And it’s all because the Blueshirts spend almost the entire two minutes trying to feed Mika for that elite shot of his.
Rangers need to change the power play to get Mika Zibanejad going
At this point, the issue with Zibanejad has nothing to do with effort or bad luck. He’s simply a victim of his great success last season. He now has to manage what other breakout stars have faced, being the focal point to a defensive game-plan.
Mika is going to have move from his favorite spot on the PP and let someone else be the trigger man. Pavel Buchnevich and Kaapo Kakko seem like good choices.
Zibanejad could rotate at the points with either Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox to keep opposing PK’s honest. It’s his turn to lull them back to sleep and then during the man advantage fire off those snipes he’s known for.
Bottom line, the Rangers need to get Mika going and this is the one way I can see how.