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Power play and penalty kill units let Rangers down

Kaapo Kakko of the Rangers battles for the

Kaapo Kakko of the Rangers battles for the puck against Jonathan Marchessault of the Golden Knights during the third period at Madison Square Garden on Monday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Two days after their special teams won them a game in New Jersey, the power play and penalty killing units let the Rangers down against visiting Vegas.

The penalty killing unit allowed two goals in two times shorthanded, while the power play was 0-for-6.

“We’re not getting it done on the ‘PK,’’’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. “[Vegas] made two good plays, but we have to find a way there . . . You saw it the other day, we kind of won the game on the PK, and as a goalie, it’s a big part. I need to find a way to make that extra save on the PK.’’

Against the Devils, the Rangers killed all eight Devils power plays, and scored twice shorthanded.

Meanwhile, coach David Quinn admitted he is contemplating making changes on the power play, which went 1-for-3 in New Jersey, but was 0-for-5 Friday in Boston, and is now 1-for-14 over the last three games.

“Yeah, we’ll think about changing it up,’’ Quinn said.

When Mika Zibanejad came back after missing 13 games with an upper body injury, Quinn put him back on the first power play unit and dropped rookie Kaapo Kakko to the second unit. But Kakko is a left-handed shot, who played in the right circle position and offered the threat of one-time shots from there, and Zibanejad is a right-handed shot who prefers to operate from the left circle. That, however, is where Artemi Panarin, also a right-hander, operates. With Zibanejad back, Panarin moved to the right circle, to take Kakko’s spot. But as a right-hander, he can’t take one-time shots from there.

Staal could be back this week

Defenseman Marc Staal skated with the team in the morning skate and he wasn’t wearing a red, no-contact jersey. That means Staal, who had surgery to relieve an infection in his right ankle on Nov. 8, and missed his 12th game Monday, could be back in the lineup as soon as later this week.

“He’s getting closer and closer,’’ Quinn said of Staal’s status. “Day-to-day. He had another good day today, and I think we’re nearing him getting back in the lineup.’’

But who might be the odd defenseman out when Staal goes in?

“Well, we’ll see how these other six [defensemen] are going,’’ Quinn said. “It’s been a good balance, with all three pairings. We’ll address that topic when we have to.’’

Blue lines

Boo Nieves was the Rangers’ healthy scratch.

New York Sports