Rangers make Fleury look like Dryden, Pens take 2-1 lead

May 6, 2014, by
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The Rangers have simply made Marc-Andre Fleury look like Ken Dryden this series. This time around, Fleury stopped all 35 shots directed at him to record his second shutout in as many days as the Penguins took Game Three by a score of 2-0. Fleury benefited from three Ranger posts in the second period, but the fact remains that the Rangers went 0-5 on the powerplay, bringing their streak up to 0-32 or 0-33. I lost count honestly.

Henrik Lundqvist played another solid game, but was beaten on two breakaways. The Penguins managed just 15 shots on goal as well, as the Rangers had dominant puck possession even before the Penguins stopped playing offense. New York had a 34-21 Fenwick advantage at the time of Pittsburgh’s second goal, which was 21-17 at even strength. By the end of the game, the Rangers had a 36-17 Fenwick advantage at even strength (52-21 in all situations). Doesn’t matter though. They got shut out.

On to the goals:

Pens 1, Rangers 0


Crosby simply snuck behind Dominic Moore at the blue line, and Rob Bortozzo simply hit him with the outlet pass, and he broke in alone. Marc Staal played the play right by not allowing Crosby to cut to the middle, but he simply beat Hank five-hole.

Pens 2, Rangers 0


Mats Zuccarello made one of the worst blind, backhand passes to Brad Richards at the point that I have ever seen. Naturally, it was nowhere near Richards, and Jussi Jokinen picked up the puck fresh out of the box and beat Hank on the breakaway.

Fenwick Chart

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

Courtesy of ExtraSkater

The insertion of Raphael Diaz for John Moore was a good move by Alain Vigneault, as Diaz seemed more confident with the puck as the powerplay showed some signs of life. And by “signs of life” I mean shots on goal. As for J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast, they weren’t better than what Derek Dorsett and Dan Carcillo bring to the lineup, but they weren’t worse. Fast plays more of a steady game, but Miller sometimes looks lost in his own zone.

The Rangers are now in a must-win Game Four situation on Wednesday night. But they can’t win if they don’t beat Fleury. He’s really not this good. He made some good saves, but the Rangers inability to beat him is astounding. Honestly, I’m at a loss for words. The Islanders chased him from the playoffs last year, but the Rangers have given him 120 straight minutes of shutout hockey. Whatever the issue is, they need to fix it, and fast.

Categories : Game Wrap-ups, Playoffs


  1. Walt says:

    Where the hell is all this so called leadership???

    Where the hell is Nash’s heart, or gonads??

    Where the hell is the offense??

    Oh well, if we loose this round, it saves us a first round pick, now that is something to root for!!!!!!

    • Snake says:

      When’s Sather’s and AV’s shelf life expire?

      Where’s the new “Offense first” “exciting” hockey we were promised?

      How can this Rangers team that has far more talent then last season suck this hard?

      Another gutless performance from a gutless team run by a gutless coaching staff and management.

      • Walt says:

        Now now Snake, your sounding like me. Shame on us for even questioning!!!!!!

        • Chris A says:

          I’m guessing the fact the Rangers played one less game than the Mets in the past seven days had something to do with last night.

          MSG, I hope that extra concert revenue is worth blowing a chance at advancing in the playoffs.

          The good news is that it’s only 2-1. Win on Wednesday and make it a best of three!

        • Snake says:

          Heh…nah…I might sound close, but I can’t trash Nash. I just bought three Nash jerseys. I don’t want them sitting in the closet next to my Cally jerseys.

          I love the optimism of the Ranger fans, but our fate was sealed when they hired a coach to institute a system with a team that lacks the key component for it work…the ability to puck in the net. Dave hit the nail on the head. This team makes anyone but Ray Emery look like Ken Dryden. When you can play more then a full game worth of time with an extra player against teams with a marginal defense and goalie and not put one puck in the net, then the coach needs to go. Somehow AV has managed to get less out of the talent he’s been provided then I’d ever think was possible…and I wasn’t expecting much to begin with.

          Bottom line, nice guy coaches have failed time and again at MSG. This team needs an SOB. Either rehire Keenan or Torts or find someone else that knows how to lean on a bunch of gutless slackers.

      • Gary says:

        The exciting hockey got clogged up in a sump full of Devils circa 1995. That was almost unwatchable what the Penguins did, but it won them a game anyway.

        I have no clue why everybody goes on suicide watch with every loss. Here is what happened; we clanged 3 posts and their goalie out performed our goalie (though we gave up a couple stupid breakaways.

        I will say that I watched Nash again and have been a supporter. But I didn’t like what I saw from him in this game. He’s not winning win-able battles.

        • Walt says:

          Thank you for seeing it, there is a problem, and he has to get it fixed. No damn excuses for the guy making $7.8 mil a year!!

  2. Blueshirt In Paris says:

    Well Diaz looked good 😉

    This schedule is outright insane. I get that they will never say they are tired but the were behind passes all night. There is no way you can not convince me that fatigue didn’t play at least a factor.

    Would love to say I am optimistic but I am too much of a realist.

  3. roadrider says:

    I’m really getting tired of reading about how the Rangers “dominate puck possession” in games in which they’ve clearly been outplayed. Those statistics you keep babbling about are measuring the hockey equivalent of empty calories – no nutritional value (goals) there. Just because you “measure” something doesn’t mean that its meaningful. The Rangers failed to establish themselves in the Penguins zone for large stretches of the game, even on most of the power plays they had, turned the puck over before getting it deep time after time after time and failed to click on most of their passes. The Penguins played keep-away with the puck when they had it in the Rangers’ zone – that’s puck possession.

    Were they better than they were in Game 2? Yes, but not nearly enough to make a difference. The Rangers are being outclassed in this series by a better team that is faster to the puck than they are, wins battles for possession, holds on to the puck when they get it and knows what to do with it when they have it. You don’t need anything more than the scoreboard to tell you that.

    • Walt says:

      Well stated my friend!!

    • Chris F says:

      Only problem with your little rant, Roadrider, is that the Rangers didn’t get outplayed. They were the far superior team, holding Pittsburgh to 15 shots and only 2 legit scoring chances. That Pittsburgh scored on those 2 chances while NY couldn’t score on 35 shots doesn’t mean the Pens outplayed the Rangers.

      Look, I can understand questioning the usefulness of possession stats when the team gets shutout. Obviously possession wasn’t enough. But to act as if possession stats are not accurately depicting the flow of the game is ridiculous.

      The Rangers played their best 60 minutes of the series last night. They were disciplined. They shutdown the Penguins zone entry, limited their shots, and banged on Crosby. Their goaltending was good. Their PP looked dangerous. They got plenty of opportunities and beat Fluery 3 times (posts and crossbars).

      Beat on possession stats all you want, but no one who watched last night’s game walked away with the impression that Pittsburgh played a dominant game, or that the Rangers were outplayed. 2 bad breaks and few posts were the difference.

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        ^^ 2nd’ed

        All of the outrage was welcomed and appropriate after an abysmal game 2. Game 3….looked good last night. PP actually looked good. No goals to show for it but if ppl cant recognize the improvement, outrage is clouding judgement.

        Obviously the outcome is not what we wanted, but there was significant improvement. They need to come with the same effort Wednesday night and just find a way to put some pucks past Fleury.

      • Fotiu is God says:

        Thank you, Chris, for the clear-eyed perspective.

        It’s incredible, galling really, judging by the day’s posts how many of you are ready to turn and jump ship.

        No doubt fatigue is a factor. The schedule certainly put the whammy on us. Inasmuch, no one expected Pittsburgh, given all that skill up front to not challenge.

        We’ll be fine. Forasmuch, I don’t see Fast’s insertion as providing anything tangible. JT at least plays with some jam. Put Car-bomb back in. Let the energy line plaster some Pens.


      • Walt says:


        You failed to mention that once the Pens scored,they went into the prevent defense, and the rest is history. That team can shut you down once they put their mind on defense, and that’s what they did when it became 2-0!! Don’t tell me that it took some 15 minute for them to get their first shot on goal last night wasn’t deliberate.

  4. Walt says:

    Dave, Suit, Justin

    Question for you guys, and this is by no means an attempt to stir the pot.

    Ever since Nash had his second concussion, does he appear to shy away from contact, and avoid the dirty areas, and is playing more of a perimiter game?

    Last season during the play-offs, he would skate in and try to do it all himself, and lose control of the puck. This season, he dishes the puck out as soon as he gets it, like it was a hot potato. He appears to be a shell of the player we thought we were getting when we gave away half the franchise for him.

    The other day I made a comment about him shooting long range shots, that any AHL goalie would stop. Then I read an article that Joe Fontanado wrote, Blueshirt Banter, saying that on average, during the first round, Nash’s shots were being taken from 24 plus feet out on average. This is why I’m so upset with his paly. He just doesn’t want any contact, and won’t go into the dirty areas!!

    Please your impressions, are we making too much of a big deal out of nothing?????

    • Dave says:

      It seems that he isn’t consistently heading to the middle, the way he usually does. However, that was not the case last night. I think too many people are confusing lack of goals with lack of effort.

      • SalMerc says:

        Most of the time effort is rewarded by goals. Minimal effort usually results in fewer goals.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        You may be right, but at this point, it’s semantics. The bottom-line is an extreme lack of production since his nice start to the playoffs. He’s not the only one, but I think the criticism is warranted at this point.

      • Walt says:

        Then, it’s not my imagination after all. I honestly believe he is playing shy, and is afraid to get hit, or doesn’t want to pay the price to win. He is a good regular season player, but stinks up the arena during the PO’s!!!!!

  5. SalMerc says:

    Possessing the puck and scoring chances are not synonymous. We looked slow and deliberate while they looked calm with bursts of desire we could not match. I think we got old in a hurry. Pens playing a very smart collapsing style “D” that allows passes around the perimeter, but nothing inside.

    Team needs 20 hours of sleep and a lot of Gatorade before next game.

  6. AD says:

    The script was set in place for this season at end of last season.

    We’ll get ourselves a new coach; new style; score more; have a better power play and still have Hank.

    Reasonable plan but we scored less; gave up more; have same power play issues and, while we still have Hank, we learned definitively Nash is not a “gamer” come playoff time, and finished the year with less draft picks and traded our captain in exchange for St. Louis.

    What will Rangers fans be saying next summer when St. Louis is a free-agent and asks for $7mm/season over 5 years at the age of 40? When the Rangers balk and offer those monies but only over 3 years, don’t you think MSL will say I’ll take the extra $14mm in years 4 and 5 in exchange for a slightly longer commute down to the Prudential Center?

    Me thinks maybe; just maybe, our prior coach knew his players very well and maximized their ability to succeed. AV has certainly made great strides with this unit and it is a more “entertaining” team (good for MSG brass), but the fact we’ve been making goalies look like Hall of Famers all seasons should tell us all something. He doesn’t have the horses for his style of play. We nearly lead the league in shots per game and the lowest shooting % for a reason…..we are riding the wrong ponies.

    No Sedin twins at their prime; no defense unit that puts up massive points either. And, yes, this league is as physical as ever, just in a different way; and bigger, especially down the middle….yet that is not what Sather/AV have been striving for. Instead, we get a “Win Now” strategy, which sounds like more a hail mary bet at Las Vegas than a strategic plan.

    Rangers fans will be left holding the proverbial bag, once again, when this is an old team in two years with little in the way of prospects cracking the NHL. And our quest for Lord Stanley will be pushed out that much further and, all of a sudden, the taunts of “50 more years” will have passed the halfway mark.

    Sorry, I saw this story from a mile, only because it’s the same story, different verse with Glen Sather. And I am sure I will be heavily criticized when as of today the series is only 2-1 and momentum swings quickly in playoffs — but long-time fans of this organization know this assessment is not too far off the mark.

    Always a blueshirt…..LGR!

  7. Walt says:


    You hit the nail on all counts!!

  8. paulronty says:

    So much for the mythology that AV will bring more offence with his coaching style. You could bring Ovie to NY and he’d only score 25 goals. And if the nets were bigger, like I go on & on about, then Rangers have 3 goals in the 2nd. Same thing happened to the Ducks who hit 2 posts in the second. The F#@#@# nets are TOO SMALL and the GMs & Bettman too rigid like dinosaurs to make that change that needs to be made. And the schedule for this round & last? Stoopid!!!

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      The nets are the same size for all teams. Not an excuse for not being able to score.

      The schedule…yes, that is certainly a factor.

  9. brooklynVic says:

    Nash has been a bit disappointing. He is a smooth skating possession monster with a Rocket Richard Trophy proven shot. Right now he is comparable to Boyle. First round, Nash got physical and had 5-6 hits against Philly in one game. Didn’t score but he’d pull two defenders and then dish the saucer to the open man. I don’t care if he scores so long as he is clearing ice and making plays. The only other criticism I have for Nash, is that he does not hesitate to make a move around 3 defenders but when in all alone he pulls back and takes predictable wrist shots. Deke, fake deke, toe drag, whatever… make a move and burry one.

    He seems to be trying to reinvent his style. Walt is on it here with “Ever since Nash had his second concussion, does he appear to shy away from contact, and avoid the dirty areas, and is playing more of a perimeter game?” The Quest for the Cup has to mean more to this guy. Do things you are NOT expected to do.

    I know we are down, but I also know we are not out. Flower is still standing on his head. If I were Pitt I still would not have faith in the Flower. He always lays at least one egg. Hopefully game 4 will be it.

    PowerPlay: The Pens are clogging the middle. We work around a stagnant perimeter and fake shots. This has to change. Send the big guys (Nash and Boyle) through the middle and clear some space. This will open shooting/passing lanes. The key is movement off the puck. Most of our PP guys can puck handle and hold the puck. They’ve made that clear. Opening lanes allows for more shots to get through and more opportunity for plays like Pouliot’s game winner.

    I think they think that Power Plays have to be created like our first 3 of 8 against Philly before the drought. They are trying to hard. For me, it isn’t just getting pucks to the net, it is getting pucks to the net frequently and often. If you shoot it and get the rebound, cycle and shoot it again and again and again. Pressure the Flower and he will wilt away.

    Refereeing has been terribly inconsistent and Goaltender Interference rules will have to be scrutinized this off season.

    Hank, Thank you. You’re awesome still.

    If we play our game, with speed and desire, with focus and accountability, with consistency and passion we can compete. But when we don’t and our offense relies on our defense, only time will stall the inevitable.

    We got Game 4 if we get back to our game. I don’t care who is on the other side of the ice. Speed, pressure, capitalize on mistakes, and play as hard as you can game in and game out. Lets go Rangers!

  10. Hatrick Swayze says:


    Do you think it would be prudent for the Rangers to shake up the top 9 in such a fashion that AV break up Pouliot-Brassard-Zuccarello?

    Obviously, I would never advocate for this if it weren’t for the top 6 looking so lost at times, but, to me, Brassard looks like our best center game in and game out. Should he get a look with MSL or Nash?

    Stepan is not looking so hot this post season and has been too quiet of late. Richards, in my opinion, is damaged goods at even strength.

    Would a Nash-Brassard-Zuccarello line not give our struggling star every chance to succeed? Would it be worth the experiment in what is essentially a must win Game 4?

    • Dave says:

      I don’t think you can break up the only line that’s scoring for you. I think a lot of the issues with Nash are luck related, he’s been the best puck possession forward on the team in the playoffs.

      • RangerMom says:

        The issue with Nash is Stepan-related. And stress-related. Hoping for all of us that his luck will turn. I agree, though. Don’t break up these lines.

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        I agree…but no one has been scoring for us over the last 120 minutes of hockey.

  11. AD says:

    AV and Rangers fans cannot blame the league for this schedule; the coaches & players only have themselves to blame.

    This team had the chance to go up 2-0 vs Flyers and came out with a poor effort in Game 2. They gave the Flyers a chance to make it a 7 game series and that’s what it was. Despite Brad Richards stating after Game 2 vs Flyers that this is a veteran leadership team that would not allow opponents back into a series like prior teams (direct swipe at Callahan) that’s exactly what happened.

    The fact is this team isn’t willing to pay the price required to beat the Penguins. We roll 4 lines all season long and these players are tired? Really? Maybe it has something to do with a vacation in Banff during pre-season instead of grueling conditioning regiment. All veteran players will say if you don’t come out of training camp physically ready for a 110-game season, it is always playing catch-up and comes back to haunt you when it counts most.

  12. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Nash, Bryan Bickell he is not, Bryan Bickell my choice he is. Stats are nice but they are not cure all. Nash simply does not like to get dirty. I go back to that scrum at the end of the game against Philly….a few shoves a punch or two would have been a good thing, but no he played peace maker and that shows me he is fearful. He thinks that work amounts to what? For 7.8 mil that is not enough.

    Hockey is an aggressive game and you need to get into the blue and expect the black to be consistent. In the playoffs there is a price to pay to score. Nash is not willing to pay that price.

    Last night his decision making was not good eithe…his shot selections were questionable. His only good move was the wrap around on the powerplay near the end of the 1st.

    Yes mental fatigue was also apparent by all the Rangers last night. That should not be the case if you have heart, drive, passion, anger, fiestiness and aggression. As a Marine I got paid a heck of a lot less but when I was on a 4 on 4 off shift, or not slept in 72 hours and had to run 3 miles, I did it and loved it. There is a gear in us all when we reach out for it. It comes from motivation.

    I liked Diaz last night as well. My problem is the wrong person was taken out. I think Klein was the one who needed out. I thought he was a lot more physical when with Nashville. The powerplay had life with Diaz in it.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      “There is a gear in us all when we reach out for it. It comes from motivation.”

      You sure as hell get a thumbs up from me.

  13. SalMerc says:

    When all the banter and rhetoric subsides, a nice 2 game winning streak by the NYR will solve all these ills.

    I feel we can do it, let’s hope they believe in themselves

    • Leatherneckinlv says:

      If the Powerplay gets going it will be very doable. The obstacle I see is no heart. I do think we will win game 4, because it is a situation called “We Have To” which the rangers have demonstrated they will do. The problem is it is not enough to “have to” because in the end we will be a very very tired team.

  14. brooklynVic says:

    Two-game winning streak certainly does put us in our places but if it happens will it only be cosmetic? Can we not then guarantee the NYR to be on their backs for game 6? Recent Playoff history tells us that the rangers use the game after a win for a rest.

    If 2 why not 3? Makes you think twice about how difficult a task two in a row will be. I think we can stun everyone… Does the team?

  15. SteveD says:

    The bottom line is the NY Rangers were completely drained by the middle of the second period last night. You could see it in their speed, their stick play in the corners, how slowly they would get up from the ice when they fell or were hit down.

    With all that said they played pretty good against a really good hockey team(when they want to be) and they could of won the game with some luck going their way instead of Pitt. Come on now, the first goal I will give to Cindy, but the second goal was pure luck with the puck popping out right when he left the box.

    If one of those NYR shots that hit the pipe goes in, different conversation right now, because I believe they would of won the game.

    It is not over at all.

  16. Ray says:

    Zuccarello’s misplay was inexcusable, but I don’t think only he is to blame for goal #2. I think McDonagh, or whoever, is standing in the middle of the ice, needed to be concerned about Jokinen. Too many goals are scored as a power play expires. Somebody at the blue line needs to be thinking about the guy coming out of the box. Obviously Zuc was in trouble and there was danger. Yes, Zuc should have forced the puck into the corner — but it’s a faulty system that makes a single error into a goal against — mistakes happen.