Special teams issues
5-on-5 this wasn’t a good series but it may have been worse when there was someone in the box. New York was not good on special teams and that will quickly sink a team in the postseason. Powerplay and penalty kill needed to be better but in the end, it was not good enough for the Rangers to continue playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. If the Rangers want to go deep next year, they need to fix this.
A powerplay that clicked at just 17.9% is not good enough. Now, that is largely going to be because the offense decided to go and bask in the sunlight on the beaches and hit the golf courses early, but that is still not acceptable. For a team that had Panarin, Zibanejad, Kreider, Fox, Kane, Tarasenko, Chytil, Lafreniere, and Kakko at its disposal, that is not good enough. Whether that is a player issue or a system, it’s not a good enough situation.
As for the penalty kill, it sat at 83.3% which is a lot better than the powerplay but it was still yielding a goal for every 5 powerplays that were given against the Rangers. It was the fourth best of round one, but it was not that much better than New Jersey’s and it was not a difference-maker in this series. You need to win the special teams battle and New York’s inability to do that was one of the reasons they are sitting at home right now.
Hopefully, this is going to be addressed by the start of next season. If the Rangers are able to fix that for next season’s playoff run, maybe they will find more success. The deadly powerplay last year got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. If they can get back to that place again where the powerplay is feared, they can get back to competing with the best.