The Rangers celebrate after their game-winning goal against the Carolina...

The Rangers celebrate after their game-winning goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in the first overtime of Game 3 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena on May 9 in Raleigh, N.C. Credit: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

GREENBURGH — Maybe it was the way the question was phrased, but Vincent Trocheck seemed to take a little offense to the notion that the Rangers’ power play had gone cold for a couple of games in the middle of their second-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

“I mean, I don't know about [being in] a rut,’’ Trocheck said following the Rangers’ series closeout 5-3 victory in Game 6 last Thursday in Raleigh, North Carolina. “That's the best PK in the league over there. They're really good at limiting chances and being aggressive. And I thought early on in the series, we were able to kind of crack their code.

"But they made great adjustments, and then it was just a matter of us taking some time to make our own adjustments. I thought our power play was great [in Game 6] and I wouldn't say that we felt, at any point, that we were in a rut.’’

The Rangers' power play produced Chris Kreider’s second goal in Game 6, which tied the score at 3 in third period. Kreider completed his hat trick later in the third to put the Rangers in front, before Barclay Goodrow’s empty-netter sealed things.

Overall, the Rangers clearly won the special teams battle against Carolina. They went 5-for-19 (26.3%) on the power play and killed 19 of 21 power plays (90.5%) while scoring two shorthanded goals.

But one of the reasons the Rangers have doubters — despite finishing first overall in the league during the regular season — is that some fear the team is too reliant on the power play to produce scoring. They ranked third in the league with a 26.4% success rate on the man advantage but were 19th out of 32 teams in 5-on-5 goals.

Relying on the power play in the postseason can be problematic because, historically, officials have tended to call the game differently in the playoffs. Teams cannot assume they will get the normal amount of power plays per game, compared to the regular season.

Having said that, the Rangers did get a reasonable amount of power-play opportunities (35) over the first two series (10 games). Their 31.4% success rate (11-for-35) in the postseason ranks third among all playoff teams.

“I would say the power play and PK might be the number one [factor] in the playoffs, because it’s very hard to score 5-on-5," Artemi Panarin said after practice on Monday. “Of course you can't just only think about [scoring on the] power play because teams at this point are pretty good on the PK right now. It’s very hard to score against them.

“But our power play hasn't been a problem all year. We just have to step up. One more step higher.’’

Florida’s penalty kill also will present problems for the Rangers’ power play in the Eastern Conference final. They, too, favor an aggressive style on the man down. In the postseason, their kill rate of 86.1% ranks third. And during the regular season, they ranked sixth in the league on the penalty kill (82.5 %).

“I think Panthers are similar [to Carolina],’’ Panarin said. “So again, it's not going to be easy to do.’’

Coach Peter Laviolette agreed with Trocheck that the Rangers’ power play wasn’t struggling during their scoreless stretch against Carolina. Like Trocheck, he also credited the Hurricanes’ penalty kill for making things difficult. And overall, Laviolette said he believes the Rangers' power play performed admirably.

“You hope that the power play can make a difference in the series, and I think they did,’’ Laviolette said on Sunday. “If you look at the [Game 6] goal, I think there might have been 11 or 12 passes that moved efficiently, quickly, to get it to a point where it opened up where we could bring something to the net.’’

Notes & quotes: After holding a well-attended optional practice on Sunday, the Rangers practiced fully on Monday with defenseman Ryan Lindgren not skating because of what the team called “maintenance.’’ … Filip Chytil, who on Sunday said he “didn't join to watch guys from the stands and have vacations in New York and in Florida,’’ skated at left wing on the third line with center Alex Wennberg and right wing Kaapo Kakko. Will Cuylle dropped down to the fourth line with center Barclay Goodrow and right wing Jimmy Vesey.


Game 1: Wednesday, May 22, 8 p.m., Florida at Rangers, ESPN and ESPN+

Game 2: Friday, May 24, 8 p.m., Florida at Rangers, ESPN and ESPN+

Game 3: Sunday, May 26, 3 p.m., Rangers atFlorida, ABC and ESPN+

Game 4: Tuesday, May 28, 8 p.m., Rangers at Florida, ESPN and ESPN+

*Game 5: Thursday, May 30, 8 p.m., Florida at Rangers, ESPN and ESPN+

*Game 6: Saturday, June 1, 8 p.m., Rangers at Florida, ABC and ESPN+

*Game 7: Monday, June 3, 8 p.m., Florida at Rangers, ESPN and ESPN+

*-if necessary

More Rangers


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months