Rangers’ powerplay flops despite many chances in Game 2

So you wanted to see some special teams?

Be careful with your desires.

Rangers might prefer Game 3 of their second-round playoff series to be more like the series opener, with nearly 60 minutes of five-a-side play, rather than the display of misery that Friday night’s Game 2 ended with one 2-0 loss to the Hurricanes in Raleigh, NC and put the Blueshirts in a 2-0 series gap.

After just 27 seconds on the power play in Game 1, Rangers had their chances in that game – they ever did. Carolina threw five penalties, including a four-minute high-stick double minor by Brady Skjei at 1:01 of the second period that looked like a golden chance to open a meandering low-event affair.

It turned out to be exactly that. For the hurricanes, that is.

Rangers didn’t put Carolina goaltender Antti Raanta to a serious test for the long run, but Igor Shesterkin got quite a bit of practice and eventually tagged Brendan Smith after an undermanned two-for-one from Sebastian Aho. This followed at five-a-side for the rest of the night as Rangers’ power play, which had been such a strength all season, turned into a lack.

Brendan Smith scores from a man down to put the Hurricanes ahead.
Brendan Smith scores from a man down to put the Hurricanes ahead.
Getty Images

“We did a good job on the line so they couldn’t break in cleanly,” Smith said. “And then [Teuvo Teravainen], I saw, got the puck out first. I just noticed that Turbo makes great plays, he can chip it into space. I saw [Aho] I tried to get away and find the trail as quickly as possible.

Rangers struggled to win a faceoff — a problem that plagued them even with even strength. They struggled to enter the zone. They were caught by Carolina’s so-called power-kill, which puts an emphasis on scaling the ice and creating understaffed chances, abandoning rushes the wrong way until one eventually converts.

“Their power play is so good,” said Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour. “Obviously that was the difference in the game tonight.”

It turned out that the lack of special teams in the first game was a win for the Hurricanes. Defender Brett Pesce told reporters Friday morning that he liked the absence of penalties from either side in the game.

Pesce, one of Ice Friday’s best players, also acknowledged beforehand how unlikely this would continue.

“Once in a while [a scrum’s] good for the emotions when you’re tired or whatever, but listen, it’s a long series,” he said. “I’m sure there will be crowds.”

It took barely three minutes of play on Friday for Pesce’s words to come true. Kevin Rooney and Smith were both sent off for roughing after a shoving match. It wasn’t the only incident of the evening involving Smith, the former Ranger, who also had moments with Filip Chytil and Alexis Lafreniere in the opening frame.

“Obviously we want to stay out of all this,” Brind’Amour told reporters before the game.

For all the wrong reasons—the Hurricanes’ own power play was unimpressive, and they couldn’t do much with a five-on-three late in the third game—all of these proved to be Carolina’s advantage.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/21/rangers-power-play-flops-despite-many-chances-in-game-2/ Rangers’ powerplay flops despite many chances in Game 2

JOE HERNANDEZ

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