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It’s a powerplay goal? Yup, it is

Ever since Jaromir Jagr departed the Rangers for greener pastures, the Rangers powerplay has struggled. The complaints were always the same, no matter the personnel. There weren’t enough shots, they were trying to be too fancy, and they weren’t moving their feet. A static powerplay is easy to defend. However, the story appears to be a bit different in the playoffs this season.

Very quietly, the Rangers have had one of the better powerplays in the postseason, ranking in the top 50% of playoff teams. Their conversion rate is at 16.9% in the playoffs, which is a full percentage point above their regular season conversion rate of 15.7%. It may not seem like a big jump, but that 1% can go a long way. After all, three of the Rangers five goals in the Eastern Conference Finals have come with the man advantage.

The Rangers actually have the second best powerplay conversion rate of the teams still in the playoffs. Interestingly enough, the Devils are the leaders at an even 20% conversion rate, while the Coyotes (12.5%) and Kings (10.2%) are sitting well behind the Eastern Conference teams.

But it’s not just the numbers that are playing in the Rangers favor, it’s the overall look of the powerplay that has had most people relatively impressed. They seem to be moving the puck better, finding open space, and really attacking the opposition. More shots from the point are leading to more deflections and goals as well.

Sure, it’s not a perfect powerplay, but it is definitely improvement. Remember the powerplays from the beginning of the year that yielded 48 pass attempts and no shot attempts? Those appear to be a thing of the past. Well, at least when they are given the opportunity to set up and move the puck around.

The Rangers are converting at opportunistic times as well, which is another reason why the powerplay has looked so good. I can remember numerous times when a powerplay goal would have tied or won the game in the final minutes of the game, but the Rangers failed to convert. Not this year. That Joel Ward double minor penalty, which led to two separate powerplay goals is a prime example of how the Rangers are starting to convert at opportunistic times.

It’s very odd to say that the Rangers powerplay is no longer a weakness in their game this postseason. But it appears that the Rangers have found a way to at least have a serviceable powerplay. Does it need improvement? Absolutely, but it’s no longer going to cost them games. Progress is a good thing.

7 Responses to “It’s a powerplay goal? Yup, it is”

  1. kgb16 says:

    Come off it. Its still a big weakness, but its better than nothing. At least we’re not giving up shorties, though the Devils have come pretty close. It is frightening when we get pinned in our own end by 2 Devil forecheckers and it takes a half an hour for our players to get back to outman them. Henrik came up big the other night.

  2. Mike B says:

    I’ll agree that the power play has improved, but I still don’t like it. My problem with the Rangers PP has been the same all along, there doesn’t seem to be any urgency to it. They don’t ramp up the intensity when on the PP, they’re slow and methodical, which is what makes it so easy to defend. If you look at most of the goals they have scored on the PP this postseason, they don’t reflect a change in that style, but more a lucky bounce or nice play off a faceoff. They’re still not gaining the zone properly and getting set up, and even when they do, they not getting enough net presence. The best example of that is the fact that when they do get net presence, such as last night with Kreider and Stepan, they score! I can’t tell you how many times, even in this playoff, that I’ve screamed at the TV for them to ramp it up or to get somebody to the front of the net. I know not every PP is going to yield a goal, but the problem is, the PP is a momentum game and when the Rangers PP is bad, it’s aweful and many times a bad PP effort has lead to a push from the opponent. I’d like to see more consistency in ramped up effort and net presence to keep the Power Play what it is supposed to be, an advantage. Many times I feel like I’d like the Rangers to have the opportunity to decline a penalty because the effor that was used to create the momentum that drew the call gets wasted when the poor effort on the PP turns it around for the opponent.

  3. roadrider says:

    The Rangers may have better PP numbers than some of those other teams but < 20% is still pretty bad and the other teams are better than the Rangers at scoring 5 on 5. The PP is huge for the Rangers since they are not a high-scoring team at even strength but can force defenders to take penalties with their aggressive forechecking and puck cycling. I agree with Mike B that there is far too much deliberation and lack of quick puck movement and that's when they're successful at setting up in the offensive zone. Too often they lose face offs in the OZ or fail to establish presence there or let the other team kill time against the boards.

    At one point in the season they had Callahan (and later Boyle) stand in front or to the side of the net and were able to create back-door opportunities and/or deflections. That strategy seems to have been abandoned in favor of this umbrella set up with time-killing games of catch on the perimeter.

    Finally – John Mitchell gets way too many PP minutes (actually, anything more than zero is too man PP minutes in this case). He doesn't do anything bad but neither does he do much that could potentially result in a goal.

    • Dave says:

      Only 3 teams in the entire league had a PP conversion rate over 20% for the entire year, with another 3 above 19%. Of those 6 teams, 5 made the playoffs, and all are eliminated from the playoffs.

      • roadrider says:

        Interesting – I didn’t know that. I guess I’m showing my age but I can remember back when < 25% was considered a sub-par number, especially in the playoffs.

        In any case, I still think the Rangers could do a better job than they are doing on the PP – but it would better if they could score more at even strength.

  4. ranger17 says:

    Have you noticed the last 3 PP goals have been scored by the 2ed unit