Popular perception is that the Rangers can’t score and the Kings can. It’s a reason that many of the talking heads have picked the Kings to beat the Rangers.
I would suspect that Marian Gaborik‘s 12 goals, Jeff Carter‘s nine, and Tyler Toffoli‘s eight have something to do with that. The fact that the Kings have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final despite below average goaltending from Jonathan Quick, is largely because they do score a bunch of goals. In all situations, the Kings are scoring 3.6 goals per game in the playoffs, which is in stark contrast to the 2.4 number they put up in the regular season.
But how does the Kings goal scoring abilities compare to the Rangers in this year’s playoffs? In close situations, the Rangers actually score more than the Kings. The Rangers score 3.3 goals per game whereas the Kings score 2.8. Which may come as a surprise to some of the national talking heads who blindly selected the Kings as the ‘favorites’.
The Kings have been dining out on a fire engine red hot power play. They’re converting at a 25.9% clip with a shooting percentage of 18.9%. The Kings PDO on the power play is 111.2 and their high shooting percentage suggests that a good chunk of their goal scoring abilities may be poised to take a dive. Especially since the Rangers penalty kill percentage is 85.9%. Yet again, the victor of the special teams battle will likely win the series.
The takeaway from this quick and dirty analysis is that the Kings and Rangers have a comparable ability to score goals. The fear for the Kings should be that the Rangers have been able to score 3.3 goals per game in close situations, without much help from Rick Nash. Nash remains the wildcard for the Rangers. The question of ‘if’ he can contribute at a scoring rate commensurate with his career numbers, remains open. If he does, Nash could heavily tip the goal scoring balance in the Rangers favor.