You could easily blame the Rangers' loss last night on two things: Genuinely sloppy play the first half of the game and the inability to finish on the power play. Like I said in my notes on the loss yesterday, the power play did generate three really quality chances. Let's take a quick look at them:
- The first one was Rick Nash's rocket from the slot that Tuukka Rask got his shoulder on. Nash cruised through two defenders and found enough space to get the shot off, he just couldn't finish.
- The Derek Stepan pass to Marian Gaborik. Stepan slid the puck through the crease but Gaborik's stick was lifted at the last second. Generally you would like to see Stepan shoot the puck there, but it was a great pass.
- The final one was the Ryan Callahan opportunity on the 5-on-3. Nash made a great play in the corner to get the puck, and then flicked a pass to Callahan in the slot. Callahan deflected the puck, but Rask made a great save.
Now, those were three opportunities in the five chances the Rangers had. If they score on even one of those it's a different game, but they didn't. And the reality is that the Rangers didn't really sustain much pressure on their power plays. Those are the issues.
As I've said before it's just one game. The sample size is small. But the fact of the matter is there were some concerns with the power play. The Rangers can't have those issues again tonight. The Penguins are too good.
Now, reports out of Pittsburgh are that Thomas Vokoun will be starting in place of Marc-Andre Fleury. It's an interesting decision, but also one which puts even more pressure on the Rangers' power play.
Obviously the Rangers need a win tonight. Scoring on the power play might help.