Bruins, Rangers both with power play outages
If you enjoy power-play goals then the Bruins-Rangers Eastern Conference semifinals series is definitely not for you. We are only two games in but the respective power plays both look nearly hopeless: Boston is 1-for-5 vs. New York and 4-for-25 (16 percent) in the postseason while New York is 0-for-8 vs. Boston and 2-for-36 (5.6 percent) in the postseason. Bruins fans probably thought that they had seen the worst man advantage in the NHL all year but the Rangers take it to a whole other level in terms of power play futility.
Boston has the 11th ranked power play of the 16 teams that were in the 2013 playoffs, the only active team that is below them is New York, which is 15th. In many ways, it’s remarkable that these teams have advanced this far. It speaks to their overriding strengths in other areas – namely goaltending, depth and team defense. When you look around at the rest of the league, three of the top five power play units (Penguins, Sharks and Kings) in the playoffs and four of the top six (Senators) are still alive and have all won at least one game in the semifinals. Pittsburgh’s is the best one, No. 2, as it has scored 10 times in 37 opportunities (27 percent).
The Bruins have at least shown signs of life with their power play. Rookie defenseman Torey Krug scored a power-play goal to tie it at two in the third period of Game 1 (a game the B’s eventually won 3-2 in overtime) and Boston’s power play early in overtime didn’t result in a goal but eight shots on goal and constant pressure swung the momentum their way for the rest of the contest.
Somehow the Rangers’ power play seems to get worse every time they roll it out. They are 0-for-21 on the road and they haven’t scored in their last 16 chances overall.
Down 0-2 in the series, the Rangers will have to win four of the next five games (for the second series in a row) to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals (where they lost to the Devils last season). It’s hard to see them pulling that off without an exorcism of a horrid power play unit.
Boston proved two years ago that you don’t need a great power play to win a Stanley Cup, however it’s certainly not the model for longterm or repeated success in the playoffs.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate