New York Rangers Power Play: Refreshed and Dangerous
The Rangers closed out the 2016-17 playoffs with an awful power play. 7.7 percent efficiency to be exact. In a league that’s so tight, especially in the playoffs, it never hurts to be able to take advantage of your man advantage. This year, the Rangers have a strong understanding of their power play and are making teams pay. The tool at the center of their success: Mika Zibanejad.
The Mika Effect
Tremendous pressure rests on Zibanejad’s shoulders as the Rangers new number one center for the 2017-18 season. He quickly rose to the occasion scoring five goals in the first four games. Currently, Zibanejad has 17 points in 16 games, eight goals, and nine assists. Zibanejad, both a comfortable goal scorer and elite playmaker, is lethal when undefended.
Fortunately, Zibanejad has proven himself effective in critical situations, such as offensive zone faceoffs. He won two on Monday against the Blue Jackets leading to two power-play goals for the Rangers. On the first unit with Chris Kreider, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Mats Zuccarello, Zibanejad has an arsenal of dangerous players ready to shoot.
Kreider netted a slap shot within three seconds of Zac Dalpe heading to the box for elbowing. Pavel Buchnevich scored less than ten seconds into David Savard‘s penalty. Zibanejad earned primary assists on both goals.
Shattenkirk Found His Groove
Shattenkirk found his groove with Zibanejad, which is making the power play cohesive and a threat. Exactly what its failed to be for the last several seasons for the Rangers. Shattenkirk has notched eight power-play points this season, including two goals. Zibanejad has 10 points on the man-advantage. Their continued presence on the first unit has allowed them to communicate better and allowed them to understand their positioning on the ice much better. Shattenkirk has been able to find Zibanejad open to make the crucial play.
The power play, while on a hot streak, has still been hot and cold this season. However, as of late, the Rangers have found a recipe for success.
Main Photo: Mika Zibanejad celebrates scoring a goal in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 9, 2017 in New York City. (Phot by Getty Images Sport)