It's been one of the biggest stories of the playoffs for the New York Rangers -- and if it wasn't for Chris Kreider it would be the biggest story -- but either way the Rangers' power play is a main topic of discussion these days.
The Rangers have had power play issues dating back to the team's first games overseas, but it's a problem that's remained consistent throughout the season to the tune of the Rangers having the worst power play success rate of all playoff-bound teams when the postseason started.
On Monday night, however, the power play accounted for a huge goal to tie the game at two. The Rangers would obviously go on to lose the game, but it was a good showing from a unit that had previously looked like a snake without fangs. Throw in Michael Del Zotto having the best game of the playoffs and you have a group that might actually be, well, confident with the man advantage.
Join me after the jump for more.
John Tortorella has tried a lot of different combinations to try and crack the Rangers' power play woes, and he's found a few things that worked. Anton Stralman has been a revelation this postseason, and has probably played his way into a new contract once everything is settled. Moving Ryan Callahan to the front of the net and a down low position, allowing him to get deflections (like the goal he scored in Game 2) and cycle the puck down low.
But there have also been moves that have needed some hashing out.
Tortorella moved Derek Stepan from the point, to the halfboards, back to the point and now at a hybrid halfboards/point position. Watch the Rangers next power play with Stepan at the top, he usually floats down to the halfboards leaving one man at the point, allowing him to run the offense from there before jumping back up to the point if there's excessive pressure.
Tortorella has also put Brian Boyle in front of the net, Carl Hagelin down low and even thrown John Mitchell out on the ice for extended power play shifts. The only thing he hasn't consistently tried is putting Kreider on the power play. The rookie has gotten a little more time as he gets more experience, but for the most part Tortorella has kept him on the bench when the Rangers have a man advantage.
That changed a little in Game 2 against Washington. With the way Kreider has played, that's probably going to change tonight as well.
No matter what happens the Rangers seem like a more confident team on the power play.
That can only be a good thing.