Last season, the power play was the Rangers undoing in the playoffs. They went an unconscionable 4-for-44 combined in their two series against the Capitals and Bruins.
If the Rangers plan on sticking around in the postseason a little longer this year, they’re obviously going to need to improve on those numbers, especially when you consider that the Flyers were the most penalized team during the regular season with 1180 penalty in minutes.
After hovering around the top of the NHL with a 20% success rate on the power play during the first half of the season, the Rangers ended up in the middle of the pack (15th overall at 18%) after going 9-for-70 with the man advantage after the Olympic break.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the Rangers will get much of a break in this series as the Flyers boast the seventh best penalty kill in the NHL at 84.8%. Sean Couturier is a horse for the Flyers man down as he led all NHL forwards with penalty kill time during the season, logging over 281 minutes.
The regular season has proved that the Flyers can be very undisciplined when they exert themselves physically, so if the Rangers want to neutralize Philly’s attempts to push them around, success on the power play will be essential.
Discipline and a stout penalty kill will also be keys for the Rangers as the Flyers had the league’s eighth best power play at 19.7%. They also scored the third most extra man goals with 58.
While Claude Girioux (29g, 58a) is obviously the Flyers most dangerous offensive player, Wayne Simmonds is lethal on the power play as he scored more than half of his 29 goals (15) with the man advantage.
Luckily, the Rangers have showcased the third best penalty kill in the NHL (85.3%) this season, so they should be equipped to stop the Flyers offensive assault.
The Rangers are also tied for third in the NHL with 10 short-handed goals.
If Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis are able to rediscover their power play scoring prowess, while Brian Boyle and Dominic Moore keep the Flyers vaunted extra man units off the scoreboard the Rangers should be setup for success in this series.