It is no coincidence that the New York Rangers man advantage failures have coincided with the trade of Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes.
The fallout on the power-play has become something the team didn’t see coming, nor do they seem to have a way to fix the struggling situation. The team is failing to get any shots off which is one of the main reasons they’ve only scored six goals in the last four games (all losses).
With a power-play that has only produced one goal in the past 29 opportunities, the team is trying to figure out what has gone wrong. The Rangers were converting at 21.6 percent of their man-advantage opportunities, an NHL rank of 10th at the time, before the trades of Zuccarello and Hayes.
Currently, the Blueshirts are ranked 17th in the National Hockey League with the team converting at 17.1 percent. The numbers are all that needed to be looked at to see just how bad the team truly is when they are up a man.
On the season, the Rangers have had 206 powerplay opportunities but have only converted 39 times.
A lack of shots on goal is the main reason the team is performing so poorly. The expression, “You can’t score if you don’t shoot” screams loudly.
In Wednesday’s loss to the Vancouver Canucks, the Rangers snapped an 0-24 drought when Pavel Buchnevich scored a power-play goal. But the Rangers also experienced a two-man advantage for 1:33, a time in which they didn’t put up a shot on goal.
In Friday’s 5-1 loss to the Calgary Flames, the team only had four shots on net during the team’s three power-play opportunities. Head coach David Quinn acknowledged the man advantage problem, revealing his thoughts via Greg Joyce of the New York Post.
“Our power play certainly needs to be addressed, it’s just too slow, too methodical. We don’t have an attack mentality on the power play, for sure. We don’t have an idea what we’re going to do with it before we get it.”
The rookie coach has suffered through his share of problems this season. From discipline problems to a lack of focus during games and even players not playing the kind of game that Quinn expects every night, it’s been constantly displayed. He has been able to push the right buttons (for the most part) to get the team on the same page which usually keeps up a competitive effort.
The power-play, though, seems to have left the entire coaching staff with no answers.
The team has to change its approach when they get a power-play. They lack the aggressiveness to attack the net and a lack of confidence with the puck is has become a concern. The Rangers have the skilled players to find success on the power play but over the last five weeks, these players seem quite indecisive on what to do once they gain control of the puck in the offensive end of the ice.
Many players are being evaluated right now for next season. The power-play is part of this evaluation with the team trying to find a consistent method of scoring goals when they are up a man or two.
Ten games are all that is left on this season. Just 19 days remain in a season in which we witnessed the playoffs equaling a fantasy, fan favorites packing bags, and the recurrence of a dismantled power-play. The last item needs to be addressed so that this club can focus on the postseason come next season.