Brad Richards may have reached rock bottom.
Not only has he been demoted to the Rangers' fourth line, he was on the ice for only 9:59 at even strength Thursday night, the least amount of any Ranger skater. It is difficult to determine how Richards has fallen from star to marginal player so quickly. Some believe it has to do with the fact that the 33-year-old pivot did not play during the lockout. Whatever the reason, Richards is not currently relevant from a fantasy perspective.
John Tortorella doesn't think the Rangers' struggles with the man advantage are "playing with their head at all."
Maybe not, but it's kind of moot. Regardless of whether it's getting under their skin, the result alone hurts. The Rangers have a 6.4% power-play success rate through eight postseason games, which is dead last among the teams that are still alive. To put that in perspective, both the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins struggled to capitalize on their power-play chances in their recent Stanley Cup winning playoff runs, but neither of them were nearly as bad as the Rangers currently are. The Kings converted on 12.8% of their power-play opportunities in the 2012 playoffs and the Bruins capitalized on 11.4% of their chances in the 2011 postseason.
The Rangers lost the special teams battle in Game 1 against Boston and they know that their power play especially needs to improve.
New York went 0-for-3 with the man advantage in Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss, while the Bruins scored once on four chances and generated momentum through those opportunities. "I don't want to say [it's] frustrating," said defenseman Dan Girardi, "but it needs to be better. We need to get good chances and create momentum. We've got to get a goal on the power play. It's a difference-maker and we don't get one and we lose the game. We definitely have to figure out something with that." The Blueshirts have gone 2-for-32 on the power play so far in the playoffs.
Derek Stepan registered his third goal of the playoffs in Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss to Boston.
He didn't record a point in Games 5, 6 and 7 against Washington in the first round. Stepan's marker ended that cold streak and it gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead early in the third.
Henrik Lundqvist wasn't pleased with himself after losing his third overtime game of these playoffs on Thursday night.
"I've got to be really careful to ask myself the right question there," said Lundqvist following New York's 3-2 overtime defeat against Boston in Game 1. "Have I played bad in overtime? No. Can I score? No. Is it frustrating? Yes. My record is terrible in overtime, but I've just got to stick with it, play my game." He made 15 stops in the extra session and 45 in the contest before Brad Marchand beat him to give the Bruins a 1-0 series lead.