Rangers' power-play woes nothing new
NEW YORK — Simply, it was an acknowledgement of the obvious: The Rangers desperately miss Chris Kreider on their power play.
“(His) size and speed, obviously, would put pressure on their defense (along with being a net front presence),” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said in a conference call when asked what New York lacks as Kreider recuperates from a broken hand.
Not having Kreider — he had 17 goals and 37 points in 66 games before sustaining the injury in New York's 3-1 win over Columbus on March 21 — is among the reasons the Rangers are 0-for-their-last-34 on the power play heading into Game 4 on Wednesday night in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Penguins.
Shut out by Marc-Andre Fleury on back-to-back nights, the Rangers trail the best-of-seven series 2-1, and the performance of the man-up units has been a primary culprit.
New York's last man-advantage goal occurred at the 8:22 mark of the second period of Game 2 of a first-round series against the Flyers, prompting Vigneault to insert Raphael Diaz into the lineup Monday night in an attempt to jump start the power play. The Rangers were 0 for 5 on the man advantage but did generate 10 shots.
Diaz, who hadn't played since New York's regular-season finale in Montreal on April 10, attempted nine shots in 19:30 of ice time, which included 6:18 on the power play.
“Diaz gave us a (different look),” Vigneault said. “(The power play) had some better looks.”
Essentially, Vigneault believes the quality of New York's man-up opportunities will lead to power-play goals. But New York was 9 for 70 on the man advantage in its final 23 games of the regular season. Overall, dating to Feb. 27, the Rangers are 12 for 112 on the man advantage.
“We set ourselves up for a lot of looks,” Ryan McDonagh said Monday night. “It doesn't matter if you're getting looks or not. (It's) whether you finish.
“We had the puck a lot more in their zone and more possession (Monday night). We have to continue to put more pucks to the net. We should feel good because we had a lot of good looks. It's just a matter of crashing the net and making it hard on (Fleury) as much as we can.”
Still, it is not as if New York's man-advantage units' issues are a new phenomenon. In John Tortorella's four full seasons as coach of the Rangers — he replaced Tom Renney with 21 games left in the 2008-09 season — New York never ranked higher than 13th on the power play. In his last two seasons, the team finished 23rd in the league on the man-up units.
There also have been player personnel miscalculations. The selection of Michael Del Zotto in the 2008 draft caused organizational decision makers to believe they had acquired their power-play quarterback of the future, and as a result, the Rangers passed on Cam Fowler for Dylan McIlrath in the 2010 draft.
Fowler has blossomed into a top-pair defenseman for the Ducks, who selected him with the 12th pick in the 2010 draft, two picks after the Rangers took McIlrath. McIlrath is with the Rangers' AHL affiliate in Hartford; Del Zotto was traded earlier this season to Nashville for Kevin Klein in order to give the Rangers defense corps left-handed and right-handed shots on each pairing.
Denis Gorman is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Kunitz ‘really close’ to return
- Penguins star Crosby talks about his experience with mumps
- Penguins notebook: Zatkoff returns to team as Fleury’s backup
- Fleury’s career-best 6th shutout lifts Penguins over Avalanche in overtime
- Penguins defenseman Letang having best season in new system
- Penguins notebook: Crosby to miss 2 games as precautionary measure
- With 3 more players possibly affected, Pens’ mumps fight escalates
- ‘Rash of sickness’ hits Crosby, Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Players back team doctors in mumps aftermath
- Penguins’ Maatta to seek second opinion for shoulder
- Penguins player might have exposed Children’s Hospital patients to mumps