I stand by the idea that the Rangers could compete with anyone in the playoffs. They have the goaltending and the top-tier defending and the mentality to do it. If John Tortorella has done anything this season, he’s gotten everyone to buy into his system and believe.
But no one who puts on that Blueshirts jersey and a pair of skates and steps onto that ice is going anywhere if that power play doesn’t pick up.
I apologize that the power play is being brought up yet again. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve talked about it, I’d use that money to buy you a smoothie. However, for any and all of us who are serious about a deep postseason run, we need to talk about it.
There’s no sugar coating it anymore, it stinks. Yes, we have seen more shooting on the power play and a smidge more progress on setting up and getting a goal. But look at who they were playing against. It was teams like Minnesota and Winnipeg and Montreal they happened on. They’re teams who are not good at all and have no clue as to what they’re doing.
Sure, the game against Philadelphia was great, but I’m sorry. That type of success is not consistent, and therefore not good enough.
The game against Boston on April 1 showed the Rangers don’t stand a chance against teams who know what to do on a power play and a penalty kill. I hope Tortorella is going to sit everyone on the team down and have them watch videos of the Detroit Red Wings setting up a power play. I was fortunate enough to see the Rangers defeat the Red Wings a couple of weeks ago, and watching the Red Wings set up gave me chills. It was so quick and flawless and perfect.
I know the Rangers are not going to be able to do that within two week’s time, but the Rangers have to find a
solution if they want to go anywhere.
He may have all the talent to do it, but Michael Del Zotto has to be taken off the point if he isn’t going to shoot and pose any sort of threat. He got a goal when he took the shot against Montreal, but 99 percent of the time he doesn’t take that shot and it’s unacceptable for a team with serious postseason aspirations.
There are a couple of different options worth experimenting now. The best and most likely option would be to put Marc Staal out on the point and take control. He isn’t 100 percent solid yet after the concussion, but he’s an intimidating force against other teams and won’t get knocked off the puck as easily.
However, I hope the coaching staff is willing to give Derek Stepan a look as well. Stepan has become a serious playmaker this season and may be the one who can deliver. He may pass the puck a little more than he should, but it’s worth a try and maybe it will click faster with him as well.
In any case, it’s time for the Rangers to start looking at their other options if they do want something more than an early exit from the playoffs.