When it’s come to scoring on the man-advantage, there hasn’t been a hotter team than the New York Rangers.
On Tuesday night they proved once again just how deadly they can be when given the opportunity. Chris Kreider scored a power-play goal with 6:20 left in the game to force overtime in an eventual Rangers’ win.
The goal marked Kreider’s 20th on the man-advantage this season and increased the Rangers power-play percentage to a 35.2% clip since Jan. 15. Both of those stats lead the league.
“I think you see the mentality in a situation like that,” Kreider said about the power play. “From (Ryan Strome) and Mika (Zibinjad) and (Adam Fox) and (Artemi Panarin), where they’ve just raised their level so much. The best players in the world can do that and they certainly do that in those situations. They create so many chances in such a short amount of time.
“I wouldn’t want to be killing a penalty against those guys when we’re down a goal in a pressure situation. Every one of them, they’re gamers and they just find ways to get the puck to the net and to create in high-pressure situations.”
It hasn’t just been Kreider’s 20 power-play goals that sit atop the league leader board, Panarin’s 30 power-play points are tied for third in the NHL and Adam Fox is tied for fifth in the same category with 27. Zibanejad is also among the top scorers on the man advantage with 12 goals during the course of the year.
On top of all that, Kreider is rapidly approaching the single-season record for most power-play goals scored. The current record was set during the 2005-06 season when Jaromir Jagr scored 24 in one campaign for the Blue Shirts.
“Well, obviously they scored a lot of important goals,” Panarin said through a translator. “We would like to score many more. We do have a really great power-play team.”
Anaheim is one of the better penalty-killing teams this season and the Rangers will see another one coming up when the rival New York Islanders travel to Manhattan on Thursday. Despite the Islanders’ struggles this season, the team has operated at an 83.2% efficiency rate on the penalty-kill this year.
The Islanders have allowed the fourth-fewest power-play goals with 23 through 57 games.
“I think we’re confident,” Adam Fox said about the power play’s success. “I think we have a good array of different things guys can do. Obviously, you see what Kreids can do net-front, Breads playmaking, Stromer’s smarts there and Mika’s ability to shoot the puck as well. I think the chemistry is just really there and we feed off each other really well. Obviously in situations when you’re down a goal it kind of pushes us a little more to get one and help the group out. I think we’ve done a good job of doing that.”
The win on Tuesday helped move the Rangers into a tie for second place in the Metropolitan Division and a win over the Isles on Thursday would give them sole possession as they approach next week’s NHL Trade Deadline.