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Kings vs. Rangers Stanley Cup Preview: Who has the better special teams?

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy
Yahoo
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Leading up to Wednesday's Game 1, Puck Daddy is previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Final between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers — on the ice and off the ice.

One of the storylines in Round 2 as the New York Rangers fell behind to the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 was the lack of production from their power play. At one point, the streak reached 36 chances without a goal, but eventually New York figured things out and a comeback was completed.

But after three power play goals in Game 1 against the Montreal the Canadiens, the Rangers have slipped back into that man advantage funk, finishing the Eastern Conference Final 1-for-16 and coming in with a 13.6-percent success rate.

No Ranger has more than two power play goals, with Ryan McDonagh, Brad Richards, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider each scoring twice through three rounds. With LA’s penchant for finding themselves in the box — they lead all teams in times shorthanded (80) and power play goals allowed (15) — here is an area New York needs to take advantage of.

The Kings, meanwhile, have cashed in on their chances when they’ve been awarded them. In their 67 power play opportunities, LA has scored on 17 of them (25.4-percent), with Jeff Carter leading the way with four goals and nine others chipping in at least one.

The Rangers will have a lot of weapons to stopped should they go down a man. Between Drew Doughty at the point, Carter and Dustin Brown in front, Justin Williams always lurking and Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik able to create space. McDonagh, Marc StaalAnton Stralman and Dan Girardi will be plenty busy on the penalty kill.

While New York’s power play has fluctuated, their penalty kill has remained consistent, carrying over as being a strength from the regular season where they finished third overall at 85.3-percent. In 64 total times shorthanded this postseason, the Rangers have killed off 85.9-percent of power plays they’ve faced. 

The Kings’ kill is down from the regular season to 81.2-percent and allowed four goals on their final 11 times shorthanded against a desperate Chicago Blackhawks team. As the Penguins found out, LA should be wary of allowing the Rangers' power play to wake from its slumber.

Advantage: Even. It's a battle of a strong PP vs. a strong PK and a medicore PP vs. an OK penalty kill, which means there's going to be a game or two will be decided via special teams.

 

 

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