The New York Rangers are currently sitting on top of the standings in all aspects of the league. Whether it be in the Metropolitan Division or the entire NHL itself, New York has quietly climbed the ladder to the top, without many teams taking notice. The past couple years they have been considered dark horses of the East, and rightly so. They have solid depth in their lineup, an all star goaltender, and a great coach behind the bench. However, there is one flaw to their game that they can hopefully turn around by the time playoffs roll around: the power play.
In their last fifteen games, the Rangers have gone 4 for 38. However, despite such poor numbers on the man advantage, they are finding ways to win games and have one regulation loss in that fifteen game span (12-1-2).
New York has gone from the top ten in the power play, to being ranked seventeenth. It has been their achilles heel as of late, and can come back to haunt them when it matters most in the postseason. During the Stanley Cup Finals, the Rangers went 2 for 22, in crucial games they could have easily won.
Acquiring Keith Yandle was said to help our power play numbers, along with strengthening the back end. While he has been stellar defensively, he has yet to register a point as a Blueshirt. His time will come where he will put points up, but as of late he has been more focused on his defensive game.
When on the man advantage, Yandle along with every other teammate on the ice has passed up golden opportunities to shoot the puck and make a low percentage cross ice pass that gets intercepted and rifled down the ice. The only thing that comes to mind is that they have lost their confidence, which is somewhat baffling because of the offensive numbers this team has put up since February.
Yes, the team loves to make the unselfish play and majority of them always think pass first and with great play makers such as Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, and Derek Stepan it can be a great concept, if done correctly. The pass first mentality has become a problem, because it causes them to be hesitant and think about their next move, rather than having it come natural. They need to set a limit on the number of passes and think shoot first.
However, when they do decide to shoot, it usually ends up getting blocked. Making quick, short passes will allow them and the defense to get their feet moving, and once you have the opposing team trying to guess where you are going next, it can easily set up a beautiful one timer.
Players should be thinking about getting the puck on or towards the net and get a rebound or a deflection. Shooting the puck is never a bad thing, especially when you have a big body like Nash or Kreider screening the goaltender.
Maybe Scott Arniel, the Rangers power play coach should change the formation or shuffle some lines around, because the system they are using now just is not working out for the team. The lineup is filled with so much talent and there is no reason that their power play is not working.
By the time spring rolls around and the post season begins, the power play should pick up again. Slumps happen, but if it continues to be the only flaw in their overall game, it may just be their demise.