Around this time last year I wrote about how Dan Boyle had changed the way the Rangers power play worked. Now with the addition of Keith Yandle, I figured it would be a good idea to delve back into the man advantage and see what's changed and whether it's good or not.
The Rangers power play is designed to obfuscate, confuse, and create odd man situations down low while opening up shooting lanes up high. With players like Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Ryan McDonagh, and probably most importantly, Mats Zuccarello and Keith Yandle on the Rangers top two power play units, you can see that the Rangers don't really have the big Alex Ovechkin shooting threat. Instead the Rangers rely on the high hockey IQ of their wingers and point men to move the puck quickly and smartly to set up shooting lanes.
Let's take a look at Chris Kreider's power play goal.
The Rangers have a pretty standard 1-3-1 set up on the power play, this unit consists of Kreider, Kevin Hayes, and Oscar Lindberg as the forwards with Dan Boyle and Yandle as the point men. Here Lindberg does a great job of corralling a loose puck in the corner and maintaining possession.
After winning the scrum along the boards, Yandle ends up with the puck after a cross ice pass from Hayes. Yandle then carries the puck down to around the faceoff circle, drawing the Ottawa PKer with him as Hayes rotates to the top of the zone.
Here is where Yandle is so good, he keeps moving towards the boards and down towards the faceoff circle and no looks a pass right to a wide open Hayes while in stride. The Ottawa PKer is caught leaning and indecisive, leaving the passing lane wide open.
And here's the result of all of that quick passing and heads up play. A nice wide open lane for Hayes to rip the puck and get a deflection in front by Kreider.
Now let's take a look at how the Rangers 1st unit pulls off their obfuscation against the St. Louis Blues.
The play starts with the Rangers in their modified 1-3-1 and the Blues in sound positioning. McDonagh gathered up the puck and fed it to Zuccarello who then engages with the Blues PKer Alexander Steen.
Zuccarello gets the puck from McDonagh and then goes to work, engaging Steen and opening up the rest of the ice.
Zuccarello is a damn magician and Stepan made a great heads up play to move into the high slot
After moving around Steen, Zuccarello fired a pass to Stepan who was in perfect position to tip the pass right to McDonagh who, again, had all kinds of daylight.
Bang. Open ice, with seven players all in or between the faceoff circles screening Brian Elliot who was beat by a perfect shot by McDonagh.
Where the Rangers power play falters, though, is when they start looking for shots and try to force one timers off of draws and set plays instead of being constantly in motion. They also need to work on their zone entries when the puck is cleared on the power play to help set things up and slow down. Recently we've seen some more power play success as the Rangers continue to confuse and bewilder.