The Rangers’ second power-play unit has just one goal through 21 games this season, scored by defenseman Jacob Trouba in the 4-1 win over the Flyers on Wednesday night. Trouba stated that he had no regrets about the lack of a goal in the 20 first games.
This unit has not seen any ice, so it makes sense that they would.
“I think our first unit is really good, they take up a good chunk of the time,” Trouba said. “When we get out there and get an opportunity, just try to get shots to the net, open up the lanes and one went in. Definitely feels good and it’s good for our unit, for sure.”
The first unit of Chris Kreider (71:11), Artemi Panarin (70:49), Mika Zibanejad (70:17), Adam Fox (49:34) and Ryan Strome (33:09) has received a bulk of the Rangers’ power-play time. There’s a significant drop-off to the second unit of Alexis Lafreniere (33:09), Trouba (23:56), Filip Chytil (20:16), Nils Lundkvist (17:27) and Kaapo Kakko (15:37).
Kreider, Panarin, Zibanejad and Fox have all played more than 72 percent of the Rangers’ power plays this season. Kreider has scored nine of the Rangers’ 14 man-advantage tallies this season, while Panarin and Zibanejad have recorded one each.
Chytil pointed out that the second unit typically gets between 20-30 seconds and the power play ends to make anything happen. This is not an easy feat.
“We don’t have the breakouts like the first power-play unit because we have only 20 seconds,” he said. “If we wait for the breakout, we lose another 10-15 seconds. So that’s not how it works, we just have to turn it and be as quick as you can in the offensive zone. We’re good offensive players, so it’s just up to us what we do there. We have to put the puck to the net.”
During the victory Wednesday, the first unit wasn’t able to generate a single shot on net during its first power-play opportunity, and only recorded one in its second attempt, but the second group came on and was able to keep the puck in the offensive zone before it found its way to Trouba for the goal.
Gerard Gallant, Head Coach joked that if one unit continues to perform as it did on Wednesday, then the other unit may get more. But with the talent on the top group, Gallant said it’s difficult not to give it as much ice time as possible.
“You look at our first unit and it’s a talent unit and it’s creating scoring chances a lot more than it did earlier in the year,” he said. “So this is the way it works, most teams you look around the league — the Toronto power-play unit and all those teams with real good power-play units —their first line gets a minute, a minute and 30 usually. Sometimes, the guys pick up the pieces.
“I was happy to see them score and get some confidence in it. They might get longer time in specific situations. Most likely. It’s hard to not throw your first unit over the board in those tight hockey games when you’re trying to win every night.”
After taking a puck in the face on Wednesday, Barclay Goodrow needed stitches. Goodrow was also absent from practice Thursday due to a maintenance day. … With Greg McKegg still in COVID-19 protocol, the Rangers recalled forward Morgan Barron from Hartford on Thursday night. is currently in COVID-19 Protocol.
Gallant explained that the goal is for Alexandar Georgiev (Goalie) to get a start against the Sharks, Blackhawks and Blackhawks.