It wasn’t a win on Wednesday night for the Rangers but it was something to build on.
The power play, which has struggled to start the season, might finally be turning a corner.
In their most recent game, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Capitals, the Rangers were an impressive 2-for-4 on the power play. It was well above their season norm, which now sits at 18.2 percent.
And while it is a long way to go from them being an elite team with the man advantage (the Maple Leafs lead the league at 45 percent and the Capitals are 39.1 percent), it is still an encouraging development for this young and very much rebuilding team.
Against the Capitals, head coach David Quinn liked a lot of the little things, including his team’s decisiveness on the power play.
“The way we battled, we certainly competed, that’s for sure,” Quinn said after the loss. “Get that power play goal, the power play delivered tonight. We had chances before that tonight. I like some of the things we are showing over the past week.”
The first-year NHL head coach has to like the overall direction of his team.
The Rangers have now scored on the power play in three of their last five games. In previous games, the Rangers seemed to move the puck slowly when they held an advantage. At times, they seemed tentative if not hesitant on the power play.
Now, perhaps, things are coming together a bit more for the Rangers. A team that everyone acknowledged was rebuilding and reshaping, has now forced overtime games three times in their last four games.
There is certainly a sense around this team that they are coming together and competing, even though the team has predictably faced a tough stretch to start the campaign.
One of the latest reasons for optimism emerged on Wednesday night. Neal Pionk registered three assists in his nearly 23 minutes on the ice. Two of those points against the Capitals came on the power play. This comes after Pionk was a scratch this past Saturday. Two games later, the 23-year old defenseman responded with a strong performance in Washington and Quinn praised the young player’s performance.
“He probably was our best player. Certainly had a lot of energy. Did a great job on the power play, does a great job on the first goal,” Quinn noted.
“Like I’ve said, he’s a big part of what we’ve got moving forward.”
The Rangers next host the Flames and hope their growth on the power play continues and helps lead them to a Garden victory.
[Coverage Of Rangers-Flames Gets Under Way At 6:30 PM On MSG & MSG GO.]