Rangers Aim to Improve Power Play and Take 2-0 Series Lead Against Capitals

The Rangers look to improve their power play and take control of their playoff series against the Capitals, with star players like Panarin and Kreider crucial to their success. The Capitals face injury concerns, putting them at a disadvantage against the Rangers' superior lineup.

Salman Khan
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Rangers Aim to Improve Power Play and Take 2-0 Series Lead Against Capitals

Rangers Aim to Improve Power Play and Take 2-0 Series Lead Against Capitals

The New York Rangers are looking to improve their power play performance and seize control of their first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals in Game 2 on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers took a 1-0 series lead with a dominant 4-1 victory in Game 1 on Sunday, led by a three-goal outburst in the second period.

Despite the convincing win, the Rangers' power play unit struggled, going 0-for-4 on the man advantage. Coach Peter Laviolette wants his team to continue playing fast, physical, and disciplined hockey in Game 2, but improving the power play will be a key focus. "We need to generate more chances and capitalize on our opportunities when we have the extra man," Laviolette said. "The power play can be a game-changer in the playoffs."

The Rangers will rely on their star players to step up on the power play. Artemi Panarin, who tied for the third-most points by a Rangers player in the regular season and playoffs combined with 121, and Adam Fox, who has a high points-per-game rate in the postseason, will be crucial to the team's success. Chris Kreider, the Rangers' all-time leader in playoff goals and power play goals, and Mika Zibanejad, a consistent contributor with 40 assists for the third consecutive year, will also play key roles.

The Capitals, meanwhile, are dealing with injuries to their defense. Rasmus Sandin, Nick Jensen, and Vincent Iorio are all questionable for Game 2 with upper-body injuries. This puts the Capitals at a significant disadvantage against the Rangers' superior lineup. Washington's offense has also struggled in recent weeks, scoring the fewest goals and generating the fewest expected goals per 60 minutes among all playoff teams in the regular season.

Why this matters: The outcome of this series could have significant implications for both teams. The Rangers are seeking their first Stanley Cup championship in 30 years, while the Capitals are looking to prove they can still compete with the league's best despite an aging core and recent struggles.

The Rangers enter Game 2 as heavy favorites, with oddsmakers giving them an 82% chance to win the series. Igor Shesterkin, who has a.930 save percentage and 2.15 GAA since the All-Star break, is expected to make over 23.5 saves. Alexis Lafreniere, who has been particularly effective against the Capitals, is projected to record at least one point. "We're in a good position, but we can't take anything for granted," Lafreniere said. "We need to keep pushing and play our best hockey."

Key Takeaways

  • Rangers lead 1-0 in series, but power play struggled in Game 1
  • Laviolette wants Rangers to improve power play, a "game-changer" in playoffs
  • Capitals dealing with injuries to key defensemen Sandin, Jensen, and Iorio
  • Rangers heavily favored to win series, with Shesterkin and Lafreniere projected to perform well
  • Outcome of series could have significant implications for both teams' championship aspirations