Last year, the Rangers' power play was abysmal, finishing 23rd in the league with a 15.7 percent conversion rate. It was even worse in the playoffs, as they finished with just four power-play goals in 12 games.
This year, it's been better. Besides having better movement and more chances, they're scoring more, too, converting on 18.1 percent of their chances.
But of late, the team has been struggling with the extra man. Since the Olympics, the Rangers have scored just nine times in 70 chances, a dismal 12 percent conversion rate.
There have been chances, for sure, but the team as a whole has struggled gaining entry into the zone.
That's going to be key against the Flyers, who have the sixth-best penalty-killing unit in the league. Special teams in the playoffs have heightened importance. If a team consistently generates good chances on the power play, then it will have a good chance of winning the series. Conversely, if a team cannot generate chances, like the Rangers couldn't do last year, then the other team gains momentum.
The Rangers have the tools to perform successfully on the man advantage. Brad Richards has been better on the point, and the unit of Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot has been dynamic at times. But they haven't been able to convert with regularity.
It was promising to see the Rangers convert twice against the Carolina Hurricanes a few games ago. But then in the next game, they went 0-for-4 against Buffalo.
This unit will need to rely heavily on Richards, Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash. Nash has to set up in front of the net, St. Louis has to be aggressive on the half-wall, and Richards has to ably direct traffic, and use his bomb from the point.
If they can do that, they should be fine. But if they can't even enter the zone with speed and numbers, it will be a tough series.