Both the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals walked into this second round series knowing that goals would be at a premium. That's a tribute to both team's defensive style of play, and superb goaltending.
But with the series tied 2-2 and Game 5 taking place tonight at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers would like to increase their offensive production. Especially their success-rate on the power play.
John Tortorella has tried a lot of different combinations on the power play, and has even changed each unit to try and get it going. And while the power play isn't as bad as the Tom Renny days -- it got to the point where Renny simply used game lines on the power play, and the Rangers had no power play unit -- the power play has been the Rangers Achilles heel this postseason.
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The only true change to the power play that John Tortorella hasn't tried is rookie Chris Kreider. But after two defensive gaffs which lead to his benching in Game 4, I doubt we get a long look at Kreider on either unit tonight.
Thus far, just like in the regular season, we've seen some lethal power plays and some atrocious power plays. There is very little in-between; although the Rangers do look more dangerous with the man advantage overall in this series then they did against the Ottawa Seantors.
The lack of a potent power play is going to bite the Rangers if they continue to squander those opportunities. The Washington Capitals took Game 4 thanks to a late power play goal. The Rangers would love to return the favor tonight.
I personally am a fan of Brad Richards running the point and keeping Derek Stepan at the halfboards; which allows Michael Del Zotto to roam between the point and the other halfboards. Throw in Marian Gaborik -- who's starting to get hot -- down low and Ryan Callahan/Kreider (wishful thinking) in front of the net and you have a group that should be able to do some damage.
Tortorella can also swap Brian Boyle for Callahan in front, and can rotate Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh (who deserves power play time but needs those minutes to rest) and Anton Stralman with Del Zotto. If the Rangers are winning, Marc Staal can man the point and focus on the defense.
Getting the power play going might be the difference between a win and a loss tonight. The difference between a win and a loss tonight could be the difference between winning or losing this series.
The Rangers are just hoping their power play makes a difference. A positive one, of course.