PITTSBURGH — For one game in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the New York Rangers didn’t have power play woes.
The Rangers 5-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 saw them score twice on the man-advantage in three opportunities.
Scoring twice on the power play is a good night regardless of the situation, but after going into the game on a 0-for-36 streak in the playoffs, the Rangers felt a bit of relief finally getting off the schneid.
“Hopefully it lifted the million-pound weight we had on our shoulders when we’re going out there and we can keep getting it done on the power play,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. “It’s a huge part of the game and if we can get it rolling, good for us.”
The Rangers’ first goal of the game came on the power play when Chris Kreider buried a rebound of a Ryan McDonagh shot past Marc-Andre Fleury. Getting the game’s first goal and breaking a playoff-long cold streak helped them get started in the best possible way.
“When we scored [the first one], I was on the bench I could feel that everyone just took a deep breath like, ‘Ahh we scored,’ Rangers forward Derick Brassard said. “Like, finally. It helped us gain the momentum in the first period, we were flying. We were all over the place and I think it really got us going.”
The Rangers finished the first period ahead 2-0, but in the second the Penguins cut the lead in half when Evgeni Malkin scored his sixth goal of the postseason. While Brassard scored just over four minutes later to make it 3-1, the Rangers essentially iced the game when McDonagh scored his first of the playoffs on the power play with a slap shot from the point to beat Fleury.
“We’ve been waiting for it to click here,” McDonagh said. “We continue to have meetings and talk and try to make things happen, make adjustments. We never stop. Now the thing is, we’ve got to back it up and continue with it here. It helped to swing a game here, but it’s got to continue to help us in the next one.”
Getting the power play right, even for a game, is a big step for the Rangers. The key to getting things right in Game 5 may have been just in doing things a bit more simple.
“When you look at our power play goals, they weren’t anything special,” Brassard said. “McDonagh’s shot was a good shot, I don’t think Fleury saw it. Kreider’s goal was a rebound. Our defenseman could’ve taken his time, but he just decided to shoot. When you keep it simple sometimes, good things happen. It’s funny, sometimes you try to make plays and plays are there and it’s not going in. This time it was really simple and it went in.”
Asked if it was just a matter of making the straight-forward play, Brassard fired back with a laugh.
“Like I said, nothing special.”