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Category: Special Teams

The locations of each powerplay goal scored this season

All NYR PPGs.

All NYR PPGs.

A very loyal reader, who prefers to remain anonymous, spent his own time and effort to create a graphical depiction of where the Rangers have scored their powerplay goals this season, represented in the image above (click for a larger image). This is fantastic stuff, and when it was sent to me, I noticed some very interesting trends.

The first thing that jumped out at me, something that the “loyal anonymous reader” pointed out, is that Ryan Callahan is always in front of the net. If there’s a rebound goal scored with the man advantage, you can safely assume it was Cally who scored the goal. Two of his goals are actually from really bad angles for a right-handed shot (the two black dots on the left by the goal line).

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Torts’ penalty killing horses being identified

Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

During last night’s second straight convincing win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Rangers started becoming what we expected of them. It took about ten games to shake off the rust and get accustomed to the season, which is what we expected. As players get used to playing the game again, they also get used to the roles they will be playing for the team this year.

Last night we saw the coaching staff deploy ten different players on the penalty kill, with eight being used for at least 1:30 (give or take 5 seconds). These eight players are clearly the workhorses on the kill, and while there are some usual suspects, it’s not all who you would expect. It’s also interesting to see the two players who were used for under a minute –Rick Nash, Carl Hagelin– were two players we expected to get a decent amount of time on the kill. Although their ice time shows that they will be used to relieve the other forwards when tired.

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The mess that is special teams

The Ralph Wiggum Powerplay.

The Ralph Wiggum Powerplay.

In case you’ve missed it, and I”m sure you haven’t, the Rangers special teams have been abysmal to start the season. The Rangers are currently at a league-worst 8.6% conversion rate on the powerplay, which is pretty pathetic when you look at the personnel they deploy. The Blueshirts are also in the bottom half of the league with a 78% success rate on the penalty kill, which is good for 17th in the league.

Addressing the PK first, which is the easier of the two to address, the Rangers are victims of two things here: A slow start from Henrik Lundqvist, and a rotating bottom six that saw two major penalty killers depart for greener (literally) pastures. It’s no coincidence that the PK suffers while Hank is off to a slow start. Your best penalty killer is your goalie, and when he struggles, the PK struggles.

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