by Patrick Hoffman on 04/16/13 at 09:16 PM ET
For most of this shortened season, the New York Rangers have struggled on the power play.
In what was looked at as a crucial game for the Blueshirts tonight, the team's powerplay went 0-5 in a 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. With both the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators winning their games and the Winnipeg Jets holding onto a 3-2 lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning with less than 10 minutes to go, this loss certainly comes at an inopportune time for the Blueshirts.
The team's power play was absolutely dreadful tonight. The team had trouble generating quality scoring chances, had no flow, looked like it was at a stand still and more importantly, could not cash in when the team needed it the most.
This has been one of the major themes for the Blueshirts all season long. For a team that has a decent amount of offensive talent, they have trouble creating quality scoring chances and putting the puck in the net when they have the man advantage.
Part of the reason for the team's struggles on the man advantage was the play of Brad Richards. It is obvious that Richards is snake-bitten and has to little to no confidence with the puck.
Too often on the power play tonight, the Blueshirts were too cute with the puck. If you have been watching the Rangers all season long, than you know that this kind of play with the puck does not get the team anywhere.
It was unfortunate that the team's power play was unable to come through tonight. Had the team been better with the puck and drove it hard to the net, the Blueshirts probably could have come away with a crucial two points.
Instead, the team could now end up being tied for eighth in the Conference with the Jets as each team could end the night with 44 points. Not only might the Jets win, but the Islanders now have 49 points and the Senators have 51 points.
It should also be noted that the Rangers' 40 shots on goal tonight is very deceiving. While Flyers' netminder Steve Mason did make some gresat saves (38 saves in total tonight) and did everything a goaltender is supposed to do to help his hockey club get a win, the Rangers still did not test him often enough with quality scoring chances and more often than not, put the puck in areas that Mason was easily able to control.
With just six games to play and a favorable schedule with games against the Florida Panthers (two), New Jersey Devils (two), Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes, the Rangers' power play needs to become a factor because if it does not, there is a chance that this team could end up missing the postseason.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.