The Rangers have the third best power-play in the league at 17.7 percent. That’s a huge part of why Henrik Lundqvist looks so good and has so much success as he’s made it clear that he has good confidence in his performance as he is the only player on his team who can reliably make them pay. But as the Rangers are known to do, in the third period, they go on the offensive. The Rangers are second in the league with 33.6 shots per game. They are fourth with 28.1 percent shooting, and have the fourth biggest percentage of shot attempts on a power-play. That’s bad when you think about it.
If I am taking a close look at the Rangers as we head towards the end of the season, I’ll use this as my guide. It sounds like a clich, but the Rangers are the toughest team the Islanders have faced in the past six months and they will try to keep them out in the series. The Rangers are the hottest team in the NHL and have the second best offensive production of any team with 50 or more goals (Tied with Toronto). And the power play is top-five in the league at 10.9 percent, which is really good for their shooting percentage.
The Rangers have two games left on the schedule and a win on Wednesday night would clinch the three game sweep. If they cannot win one of those games, it would be a long wait for the Islanders that would be short-lived. If they win both of those games in the next two weeks, they will be in a five game series while the Rangers will be the two team that is still undefeated heading into the playoffs.
If they were able to take one of the games on this final night, it would be a tremendous finish to something that has been a season roller-coaster. How the Islanders managed to climb out of the fire and make it this far to the playoffs so far has been quite amazing. It’s hard to believe how the Rangers were blown out in the playoffs by the Bruins. It seems that something has to give in the Eastern Conference, and it’s time for them to take the next step.
There’s so much more that can be said about the Rangers and the way they are playing, especially at home. But my point is that they can’t lose back-to-backs due to special teams. They can’t look into the future and see what their playoff odds of making it to the Western Conference finals would be even if they take all three of their games this weekend. Every game counts and this weekend it could be a huge difference between first and fourth place.