This past weekend, with Kevin Shattenkirk injured and Tony DeAngelo out of the lineup, the Rangers put together a PP unit consisting of five forwards.
The forwards used were Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello and Vlad Namestnikov.
On Saturday against the Leafs, that unit was on for around 2:25ish while the second uint, which featured Neal Pionk, Brett Howden, Filip Chytil, JImmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich, was on for about 1:30ish.
The five-man forward group on Saturday only put one shot on goal on five attempts. (Natural Stat Trick)
Against the Flyers on Sunday, the five-forward unit played just over 3 minutes while the second unit played under a minute. (Natural Stat Trick)
Each unit put two shots on goal and Marc Staal and Brady Skjei each saw around 10ish seconds with the second unit. (Natural Stat Trick)
When asked if he thought the five-forward unit would continue, David Quinn said after the game, on MSG, “you’ve watched it the way that I have…kaboom.”
This season, Neal Pionk leads the Rangers with 11 PP points, Mika Zibanejad is second with 11, Kreider is third with seven and Hayes is fourth with six.
Zibanejad (103:30), Kreider (96:59), Hayes (83:46) and Zuccarello (73:08) lead the Rangers in total PP time with Shattenkirk (72:13) and Pionk (70:36) behind them.
Filip Chytil, in 35 game, has only played 51:45 on the PP, Tony DeAngelo, in 23 games, has only played 42:27 on the PP and Pavel Buchnevich, in 19 games, has only played 38:03.
While talking about the PP during training camp, David Quinn said that you want to be unpredictable and maintain the same kind of work ethic you have at even strength.He added that “what inevitably happens to PPs is that when they are struggling they lose that intensity and work ethic and it’s human nature to say that we have five and they have four. (SNY via NYR)
On 10/10, Quinn said of the PP, “it’s about pace, too often we are looking for the perfect play instead of letting the play happen. That is something we are focusing on.”
Adam Rotter: One thing is for sure and it’s that Neal Pionk needs a lot more PP time. He has somehow played fewer total minutes than Zuccarello despite the fact that he has played in 13 more games. Pionk is used in all situations, and leads the team in ice time, but it’s clear he makes a difference on the PP and should be used there more. If the Rangers want to keep Pionk’s time where it is then Tony DeAngelo should be logging major minutes on the top-unit.
This five-forward thing didn’t work but I’m not sure the Rangers used their most creative five in that spot. Vlad Namestnikov has been good lately but his spot could have easily been taken by Chytil or Buchnevich. Of course, neither Chytil or Buchnevich are as good defensively, which has to be taken into account with no defensemen, as Namestnikov is. It’s a catch-22 type of thing but likely a situation we won’t see the Rangers deploy for a while.