Rangers' power play still not an advantage
Web linksSteve Zipay's Blue Notes
BOSTON - The Rangers got through the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs in seven games despite going 2-for-28 on the power play against the Washington Capitals.
After one game in their conference semifinal series with Boston, make it 2-for-31.
The Rangers went 0-for-3 with only three power-play shots last night in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins at TD Garden.
While the Rangers were scuffling again with an extra man, Boston scored once on its power play. The Bruins also carried the momentum from an overtime power play into the Brad Marchand winner at 15:40.
"We never regrouped," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "It was a surge we couldn't stop."
The Rangers' power play was whatever the opposite of a surge is.
"I thought we played a pretty good game, but the special teams were the difference," said goalie Henrik Lundqvist (45 saves). "That's going to be the case this playoffs. I thought their power play gave them energy every time they got on the ice."
The Rangers could have rewritten the story of their power play if they had converted on their final opportunity of the night. With the score 2-2 and 3:44 left in regulation, Derek Stepan drew a hooking penalty on Patrice Bergeron.
But the Rangers managed only one shot (by Rick Nash) in 1:35 before John Moore was called for interference, ending the man advantage and forcing the Rangers to go on the penalty kill after four-on-four play ended.
"I don't want to say [it's] frustrating," said defenseman Dan Girardi, "but it needs to be better. We need to get good chances and create momentum. We've got to get a goal on the power play. It's a difference-maker and we don't get one and we lose the game. We definitely have to figure out something with that."
The Rangers face a Boston squad that had a penalty kill percentage of 76.2 (5-for-21) in its seven-game first-round series against Toronto. The Bruins were fourth in the league at 87.1 during the regular season, but were without injured defensemen Wade Redden, Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference last night.
The Rangers had the NHL's 23rd-ranked power play during the season (15.7 percent). The power play and how Boston will defend it was a focus in Wednesday's lone Rangers practice leading into this series.
The Rangers had their first power play at 4:38 of the second period when Nash drew a hooking penalty on Zdeno Chara. The Rangers managed just one shot on goal. Moore fired it from the point and into the glove of Tuukka Rask.
After Chara gave Boston a 1-0 lead with a shot that trickled through Lundqvist, the Rangers went back on the power play when Adam McQuaid was called for interference on Brian Boyle at 13:52. Again, one shot (this by Brad Richards) and no goals.
Moore said the Rangers "definitely have the horses" to have an effective power play. But the horses are still in the paddock so far.