Since Game 2 of their first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Rangers’ power play was either neutralized or an albatross, but that changed in a 5-1 Game 5 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. That unit finally broke through with a 2-for-3 night, shifting the special teams questions to Pittsburgh this time around.
As it turns out, Pittsburgh’s PP problems probably deserve some attention, too. The Penguins went 0-for-4 on the night, prompting some criticism from head coach Dan Bylsma after the game.
“I don’t think we’ve attacked and shot enough on our power play,” Bylsma said.
He pointed to one sequence in particular: the Penguins had a 5-on-3 opportunity to end the second period. Down 4-1 late in the middle frame, penalties to Derick Brassard and Dan Girardi gave the Rangers a golden opportunity to get back into the game. Instead, the Rangers kept the Pens from converting on close to 1:30 of 5-on-3 time. Bylsma noted that the team had its fair share of chances, yet he lamented their inability to “capitalize” on those opportunities nonetheless.
It’s easy to make too much out of one game, yet the Rangers now have two power-play goals to the Penguins’ one (although shorthanded goals muddy the picture enough that special teams might be considered a draw).
Pittsburgh hasn’t been able to score a power-play goal in four of its five games against the Rangers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs after finding the net with the man advantage in all but one game against Columbus (Pittsburgh went 6-for-29 in six postseason games against the Blue Jackets).