To me, this is the most frustrating type of game to lose. The Rangers showed flashes of brilliance but ultimately did not put anything close to a 60 minute effort together en route to a 2-0 loss against a Penguins team that outworked and outplayed them all night. To the bullets…
- To Pittsburgh’s credit, they played a fantastic game in all three zones. With some of the chances they were getting, this game could have been ugly, if not for a certain #30.
- When I evaluate a teams play in either the offensive or defensive end, one thing that particularly drives me crazy is turnovers at the top of the zone. If you don’t get the puck deep offensively or get the puck outside the blue line defensively, you will be eaten alive by transition plays. This happened far too frequently tonight.
- The Pens demonstrated why they are such a dangerous team tonight, even without Crosby. They had long stretches of continuous puck possession and offensive pressure. Everyone had their feet moving in the offensive zone, and they won battles along the boards. The Rangers had several extended shifts in their defensive zone, which ate valuable clock and tired out the defensive unit.
- I thought the penalty on Staal which lead to Pittsburgh’s 2nd goal was a little suspect…
- The Pens absolutely dominated the neutral zone. They were stingy with allowing the Rangers to penetrate even the defensive side of the red line, and created an effective forecheck.
- Overall, I thought the Rangers have had much worse games this season, but they were missing that “spark” tonight. That little extra energy that helps even out the skill level of Pittsburgh. It was just a bit sloppy.
- Henrik Lundqvist is the only reason this game did not end 5-0. He was tremendous all night. In the first period and a little bit of the second, he appeared to be fighting the puck a little bit, which lead to some ugly rebounds, but the defense played well in the danger areas and kept most of the scoring chances to the perimeter.
- Marc-Andre Fleury played exceptional as well. He had several key saves and kept the Rangers offense at bay, especially in the second half of the game. He is one of the best movement goalies in the NHL and he showed why tonight.
- I swear, sometimes Sam and Joe remind me of Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets up in the booth. (I may be dating myself with that reference, but I don’t care).
Off until Friday when the Rangers make the trip to the beautiful Nassau Coliseum for a date with the Isles at 7pm.