If the Rangers do one thing during their playoff series against the Capitals, it must be to stay out of the box.
Not only did the Capitals have the number one power play in the NHL with a 28.6% success rate (44 power play goals) this season, they generated just 63.7 percent of their total goals via even-strength play, which amongst playoff teams, only Detroit generated less of its offense playing five on five this year.
While the Rangers were the least penalized team in the NHL (183 penalties), their penalty kill, which was such a strength of the team last year (5th in the NHL), has been inconsistent all season (15th in the NHL) as they've failed to adequately replace guys like Ruslan Fedotenko, Brandon Prust and Brandon Dubinsky.
Here's Henrik Lundqvist on the importance of cutting down on their penalties (via Washington Post)...
“I think going into the playoffs special teams always play a big part, but playing a team that’s red hot on the power play, we know we can’t take too many penalties and we also know special teams will play a huge part. It’s a lot of times also when you play five on five it’s so tight, a lot of times games are decided on the PK and power play.”
...discipline, discipline, discipline. If the Rangers can stay out of the box, they will win this series. Period.
...the Capitals have a number of guys on their power play who move the puck real well (Ribiero, Backstrom) and they will be looking to set-up either Ovechkin or Green for one-timers all day long. Rangers need to clog up the passing lines and force the Capitals to stay along the perimeter.
...the Capitals power play personnel aren't exactly Jan Erixon defensively, so the Rangers should have a some opportunities short-handed that I hope they can take advantage of.
And if the Capitals are able to get their passes through the Rangers penalty kill, here's where they'll likely be shooting on Henrik Lundqvist (via ESPN)...
...watch that glove side Hank.
Nervous? Not me. :)
Although it seems that other are....all these topics on the Caps PowerPlay..".how deadly they are"...or "Ovechkin loves to be physical"......
I can care less about the skill set of the Capitals. Play them physical. Hit Ovechkin at every opportunity....punish their defensemen every chance you get. This is playoff hockey. Everyone needs to step up their game from a physical standpoint.
Be the bully on the beach...not the 90lb weakling who gets sand kicked in their face.
They tried the glove side last year everytime. Also the Rangers were the least penalized team this year so if they keep that up they will be fine!
You said it here. It's simple. Special teams winner, is the series winner. Not sure if this makes a TON of sense, but I wouldn't mind seeing the rangers tone back their hitting a tad if it means taking less penalties. It sounds counter intuitive but I think all year, this caps team was not a playoff team until the PP started going. That's their Achilles heal. 5 on 5.
@GLENsatherVSglennDANZIG Wonder if people are nervous.
""""but I wouldn't mind seeing the rangers tone back their hitting a tad if it means taking less penalties""""
SA...tone back their hitting? In a playoff series?? Please tell me you're joking..... because that one made me laugh out loud....
Actually, let me make one amendment: to my comment... Hit the crap out of Mike Green. He's made of glass and has been missing a ton of time these past few years to injury. We can't let him feel comfortable. And Ovi loves the physical game, which is why Staal owns him. To play Ovi, you need to skate with him and play him with the stick, not the body. No one does that better than Staal... except for maybe Mac Truck.
@McPhee37 Counter Intuitive, McPhee. Penalties will kill us.
Absolute nonsense. You have to hit in the playoffs. The more hits you throw, the more you wear down your opponent as the series wears on.
By all mean, don't touch Ovechkin....let him feel nice and comfortable on the ice. Let him feel healthy and strong for a Game 6 or 7.
Just plain silly.....