"I don't have an answer for it," Brendan Shanahan said in analyzing why the Rangers lost 3-2 today to Dallas despite thoroughly dominating the game. "We seem to go to the net, we seem to get scoring chances. But we're not burying them with any real consistency." Jaromir Jagr said, "I thought we played pretty good. We had a lot of chances. We had the opportunities to get rebounds. We just didn't do it. We just didn't score goals. We could have won this game."
The answer is simple. One team, despite getting no offense otherwise, capitalized on its two full power plays to tie the game and win it. The other team, despite all its offense, ground to a near standstill whenever it got the man advantage. Dallas 2-for-3 (the lone failure a three-second power play after the Rangers negated an advantage with a penalty of their own) -- Rangers 0-for-6. Not to mention the Stars scoring on the four on four after the Rangers negated their own power play.
What went wrong? The Rangers had some set-up time on the power play, but a) they missed the net six times, b) they had their flow consistently disrupted, limiting their attack time, and c) not one of their ten shots on goal generated a rebound, the majority of them held by Dallas back-up Mike Smith. By contrast, in less than three minutes of power play time, the Stars got six shots on goal, two of them goals. "There is certainly reason to believe that that's going to be there," coach Tom Renney said of his power play. "But what our team needs to do is understand that the blue paint is vital for scoring. We generated a lot of shots today, and that's great. But we are not a second or third chance team in close at this point in time."
The Rangers have gotten where they are on defense and goaltending. In a game when that's not all there -- Henrik Lundqvist did not look like his usual stellar self on the two breakaway goals, and Dan Girardi was keenly disappointed with himself for his role in all three goals against -- it's up to the star-studded power play to make a difference. That's what the Stars did with their power play in a game where they literally had nothing else. That's what the Rangers failed to do when they had chances to extend the lead with the man advantage or tie the game back up. There is no reason in the world for this group of players -- so deep that power play specialist Petr Prucha can't even get any ice time -- to hurt themselves so badly with the man advantage that they end up losing games they should win, and win easily.