The Rangers power play under Scott Arniel was much improved to start the season. Then, like most situational units, it regressed after the Olympic break to a more realistic number.
But in Game 1 against the Flyers on Thursday, the power play was back in a big way.
The Rangers took advantage of a double-minor in the third period, and broke a 1-1 tie with two goals on the man-advantage to down the Flyers 4-1 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
The contest started out with the Rangers taking more shots and controlling the puck more than Philadelphia, but unable to find the back of the net. On the Flyers' first shot of the night, they managed to convert, as an Andy McDonald point strike ticked off Martin St. Louis and past Henrik Lundqvist for a 1-0 Philadelphia edge.
The Rangers would continue pressing, and found an equalizer just over two minutes later. It began with an active shift from the third line, and ended with Mats Zuccarello following up on his own rebound past Ray Emery to send the game into the intermission tied 1-1.
Despite outshooting Philadelphia and outchancing the Flyers in the middle frame, the game remained scoreless going into the final 20 minutes.
That's when the Rangers asserted their dominance.
The Flyers put themselves in a shorthanded situation after Carl Hagelin used his speed to create a turnover. Jason Akeson was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking with 12:12 to go in regulation with the score tied, and the Rangers were presented a great opportunity to grab control of the game.
That they did.
The top power play unit of St. Louis, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Brad Richards, and Ryan McDonagh produced not one but two goals to put the Rangers ahead 3-1.
On the first tally, the Rangers cycled the puck around the zone, stretching out Philadelphia's PK. A St. Louis shot in the slot kicked off a Flyer skate, and onto the stick of Richards who blew one past Emery for a 2-1 advantage.
On the back end of the double-minor, the top unit converted again, with a quick passing play ending on the stick of Stepan, who deposited the puck into a wide open net.
The Rangers added an insurance goal to push their lead to three when Hagelin followed up on a Richards shot and banged a rebound past Emery to make it 4-1.
While the Rangers seemed to have an edge through the game's first 40 minutes, the third period was truly where New York set itself apart. The Rangers outshot Philadelphia 13-1 in the game's final 20, and the Rangers drew four penalties. Hagelin was active all night, along with his linemates Jesper Fast and Richards.
After a bit of a shaky start, McDonagh settled in and found his groove. Playing in his first game since April 1, McDonagh turned the puck over on the lone Flyers goal, but then found his footing, skating over 22 minutes minutes, and playing an instrumental role on the point for both Rangers' power play goals.
Lundqvist was good enough, as he was only called upon to make 14 saves.
Game 2 of the series will be played Sunday at noon. The Flyers winless streak at Madison Square Garden is now at 12 consecutive games.