The power play, or lack thereof, has cost the Rangers another critical game.
Playing a nearly flawless road playoff game, the Rangers choked once again with the man advantage. Henrik Lundqvist was brilliant blanking the high-scoring Caps for 68 minutes and stopping the first 37 shots he faced making several incredible saves along the way.
The Rangers have no power play and it is so painfully clear to everyone involved that the pp is killing them, yet they still have nothing. 0-3 and 0-6 in series. The “experts” are even picking up on the power-play-killing-NYR theme that many of us ahve been screaming about for a long time. Post. Times. News.
In today’s NHL, with defensive systems, advanced scouting, and solid goaltending across the board, goal scoring is at a premium. The formula for success is very simple and universal:
1) Great Goaltending
2) Special Teams
The New York Rangers have mastered half of that formula.
On February 25th, Rangerface made the case that Coach Tortorella should be fired, basically because the team after four years under his leadership still hadn’t found a power play. Here is what we said with the stats updated.
There is no offense. There is no attack. There is no scoring.
There is absolutely no power play and hasn’t been for a long time.
A look at the offensive statistics in Torts’ four full seasons as head coach.
2010 – 82 GP / 219 GF – 2.67 GPG
2011 – 82 GP / 224 GF – 2.73 GPG
2012 – 82 GP / 222 GF – 2.70 GPG
2013 – 48 GP / 126 GF – 2.58 GPG
And the power play…
2010 – 55/301 – 18.3% – 13th Overall
2011 – 49/290 – 16.9% – 18th Overall
2012 – 44/280 – 15.7% – 23rd Overall
2013 – 24/153 – 15.7% – 23rd Overall
The numbers aren’t pretty. The offense, after upticking in 2011, is progressively getting worse.
More alarming, is that the power play, despite the additions of Marian Gaborik in 2010, Brad Richards in 2012 and Rick Nash this off-season is actually getting worse. This is more than a slump or a funk. This is systemic. This is the New York Rangers offense under Coach Tortorella.
This current lack of offense and PP in the first two games of the post-season should come as a shock to no one.
In explaining, Torts was his typical smug self in the post gamer stating with annoyance in his voice that the NYR power play is “stagnant” and “almost paralyzed.”
It’s mind-boggling that the coach is just picking up on that now. The power play that we have all watched stagnate and be almost paralyzed as the players on the unit toss the puck around the perimeter, often refusing to shoot, is now something that the coach is going to try and fix.
I’m fairly certain that Brian Leetch still works for MSG? Is the coach that much of an egomaniacal control freak that he can’t ask the greatest Ranger of all time, Hall of Famer Brian Leetch (111 career PP goals) to stop by practice and work with the boys a bit?
But this is the Tortorella system, choke off offense, both the opposition’s and the Rangers and have a terrible power play.
The Rangers had 24 shots on net and zero in OT, but aside from Rick Nash’s near goal of the year that clanked off the post, the Blueshirts never really tested Braden Holtby and the pompous richard let them know.
“It wasn’t a very hard game for me. It wasn’t a very straining game for a goalie. It probably didn’t even reach double digits in scoring chances. I felt comfortable out there.”
As condescending as Holtby’s comments were, he was absolutely right. The Rangers didn’t do enough offensively.
With a grand total of 1 goal in 2 games, there are many non-factors in the NYR lineup, prompting Torts to once again tinker with the forward lines.
Ryan Callahan, aside from his apple on the NYR’s only goal, has mostly been rocked by hits from Ovechkin and other Caps.
Nash has had many chances, but he hasn’t produced any results, and much more is expected and needed from their big gun.
Brad Richards has been awful times 6.7 million.
Derick Brassard was invisible and Mats Zuccarello (he of diminishing ice time) had 1 shot on net in his 14 minutes. The entire Rangers offense in the series Carl Hagelin has 1 shot on goal in his shrinking minutes, though Taylor Pyatt did not muster a shot.
First line center Derek Stepan registered a single shot on goal in his 25 minutes of ice and now has a total of 1 goal in his 27 NHL playoff games or 4 less than Chris Kreider. Kreider was a healthy scratch and it looks like he won’t be saving Coach Tortorella’s job again this year.
The Rangers scoring for the series is as follows.
Carl Hagelin = 1 goal
Everyone else = 0 goals
You know its bad when NHL tonight lists the highlights and all they show is “ice time” and shot totals for the NYR.
The Ranger defense has played pretty well. Ryan McDonagh is taking some heat for his delay of game penalty, but it is hard to kill McD for that play, he along with the rest of the NYR D has held the scorching Rocket Richard Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin to 1 goal in two games and they have given up just 4 total, including 2 on the power play.
Hank was outstanding in net and now has a 1.90 GA in 2 games with nothing to show for it.
This game was there for the taking, the goaltender played so outstanding, the NYR should have stolen the game and earned a split heading to New York with home ice advantage, if only they had a semi-decent power play. But Coach Tortorella’s Rangers don’t and rather than scoring the game winner on their over time man-advantage, the Blueshirts managed 0 shots on goal. The Caps cashed in on their OT power play when Mike Green’s rocket from the point baked off Stepan and and past Hank sending the Rangers home down 0-2.
Can they get back into the series? Of course they can, but Coach had better find an offense and quickly.