Just when I thought the Rangers power play would never get another goal, they got two. And it wasn’t just any two power play goals — one tied the game with six seconds left and the second won it in overtime.
What’s funny to me is I was planning to write about the “Curse of Wayne Gretzky” today. The what? It’s what I’ve dubbed the fact that the Rangers power play hasn’t been the same since Wayne Gretzky was on the Rangers. Think I’m lying:
1998-99 20.4 2nd
1999-00 16.9 9th
2000-01 17.9 11th
2001-02 14.7 21st
2002-03 16.2 15th
2003-04 14.2 26st
2005-06 18.9 8th
2006-07 18.5 8th
2007-08 16.5 22nd
2008-09 13.9 29th
2009-10 18.3 13th
2010-11 16.9 18th
2011-12 15.7 23th
To me, a respectable power play ranks in the top 10. Notice that the two times since the lockout the power play has been in the top 10 was when some guy named Jagr was here. My point in looking all of this up was to prove to myself that the Rangers power play has been a problem no matter the coach or the players.
I’ve gone back and forth wondering if the power play is important, but I think last night proved that the power play indeed is important. I thought to myself that if the Rangers didn’t score on the leftover power play in the first overtime, the night was going to drag on for quite some time. I’m glad they did.
A few other thoughts on last night’s game:
- I am having a hard time rating last night’s win on my list of favorite Rangers games. It’s not at the top of my list (Stanley cup winner and the 1994 Game 7 win over the Devils rate at the top), but is it at number three or four or somewhere lower? I think the rest of this series will dictate that. Where does it rate for you?
- Please stop reacting to Pierre McGuire. A few minutes into the game he implies Stu Bickel was benched and people went nutty on Twitter. Clearly Bickel was not benched.
- When Chris Kreider took the penalty late, I figured he wouldn’t be back on the ice. He wasn’t getting a ton of ice time. But John Tortorella stuck him out there right away. You can look at this two ways. The pessimist says Torts had no other choice. The optimist says it was the coach showing confidence in the kid. Or there is a third way: It’s a combination of both.
- After stinking it up with faceoffs in the first round, the Rangers are doing so much better this round. They are pretty even with the Caps. While I’d rather see them dominate the dot, I’m happy to see this much of an improvement. And leading the way is Derek Stepan. I want Stepan to score, clearly, but I’m perfectly happy to see someone winning faceoffs as consistently as he is this series.
- Don’t look now, but I think the Gaborik-Richards-Hagelin line is starting to catch some fire.
- Has anyone seen Ryan Callahan lately? He’s been pretty quiet this series and even at times has played poor.
- Would you believe there are people who think Henrik Lundqvist should never ever allow a goal, especially in the playoffs? It’s really unrealistic to expect a shutout every night, which is why we need more goals to support his phenomenal play. His numbers have been outstanding thus far, and it’s why people believe he’d be a Conn Smythe candidate.
- After yesterday’s piece on officiating I have to ask this: Are we still blaming the referees?
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