Game Wrap-upsPlayoffs

Powerplay fails Rangers as Pens even series

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

That ugly feeling hit 9:04 into the first period. The Rangers had just failed to score on their third straight powerplay opportunity. Nine minutes, six of them on the powerplay, no goals, and just five shot attempts during that span. Stomachs started turning, and at that moment many knew how this game would go. The fact of the matter is that those six minutes cost the Rangers the game, a game in which Henrik Lundqvist almost committed highway robbery. Those six minutes gave the Penguins life, when the Rangers could have put the game away.

Instead Hank stood on his head –making 33 of the most unbelievable saves I’ve ever seen– in a losing effort. Marc-Andre Fleury, who played well, stopped all 22 shots the Rangers threw at him. The Pens had a whopping 65% Corsi advantage. Pittsburgh played perfect hockey after those three penalties (even had perfect penalty kills), and you have to tip your hat to them. They won the game, and the Rangers are clearly gassed with another game coming up tonight.

On to the goals:

Pens 1, Rangers 0

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Mats Zuccarello initially turned this puck over to Kris Letang in the offensive zone. Zucc then tried to steal the puck in the neutral zone, but his failed attempt sprung the Pens on a 4-on-2 break. Chris Kunitz picked up the puck from Evgeni Malkin, and then passed it across to Letang before cutting to the net. Letang’s pass to Kunitz went off a diving Dan Girardi’s stick and in the net.

Pens 2, Rangers 0

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After Derek Dorsett took a pretty boneheaded penalty, the Pens capitalized on the powerplay. James Neal threw the puck at the net from a bad angle as Jussi Jokinen came down the weak side. Marc Staal didn’t notice him, and Jokinen was wide open for the rebound.

Pens 3, Rangers 0

Malkin empty netter.

Fenwick Chart:

Courtesy of ExtraSkater
Courtesy of ExtraSkater

The Rangers need more speed in the lineup to match up with Pittsburgh, so we might see J.T. Miller in the lineup tomorrow for either Dan Carcillo or Derek Dorsett. Most want Dorsett out of the lineup, especially after that bad penalty late in the game. I don’t like the idea of breaking up that fourth line, and Carcillo isn’t exactly a defensive stalwart. But I wouldn’t be opposed to either coming out of the lineup for more speed.

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23 Comments

  1. I realize that part of the appeal of Playoff hockey is the grueling almost inhuman schedule, but 5 games in 7 nights seems a bit over the edge. Anyway, to state the obvious, we’re out of round 1, have taken home-ice away from the Pens, our goaltender is world-class and showed it in last night’s loss, we’re getting (mostly) good minutes out of 4 lines and 3 pairs. Life is good!! Oh yeah. The (lack of) Power Play. Oh well, let’s get a few PPG’s tonight. LGR!!!

  2. We finally get the ‘King’ version of Hank and the team runs out of gas. This is my first moment of ‘uh oh’ in this year’s playoffs. Pens looked really committed and the Rangers have to match that. Just hope they have the energy.

  3. I posted that we would see a different team in game two against us, and sure enough the Pens came out flying. We get a golden opportunity to jump into the lead, three PP’s in the first what 12 minutes? So what do we do, nothing but look like an AHL team.

    Look, I read on another blog that Nash’s shots were taken from some 24 feet on average, what a dud this guy is. Yeah he is getting assists, but the man has to check his shorts, I think he could fit into panties, he has no gonads!! Hay Rick, just watch Zucc to see how a man plays this game!! I had to laugh, even Keith Jones, and Roenick made comments about Nash, now that’s funny.

    If we stand any chance to come out of this series, and advance, we have to win tonight, and win game four. It’s sick to see us win every other game, that is playing with fire! This Cindy lead team is hungrey, and I fear they are going to take it to us big time.

  4. Just throw 5 guys out there and tell them to have some fun with the PP . Whats out there now is not having any fun and are playing scared and tight

  5. I am seeing McD not playing like the pre-shoulder injury McD. As for the PP, what PP. No time to practice, but need more creativity and movement. You need to make the Zucc line the #1 PP line and tell the points to skate, fake shots, move and skate some more.

    Hank was wonderful, but if we aren’t going to score any goals, maybe Talbot gives Hank a breather tonight.

    1. Hank is on. Keep him in. No brainer in my book. He’s a gamer and will want to be in there.

      1. What Hanks wants and what’s best for the team going forward may not be the same. I am sure everyone wants to go tonight. Dorsett & Carcillo included, but some guys need a mental rest and some need a physical rest.

        1. No way you take Hank out of the crease after a game like last night.

          I think you’re first comment was said in jest…as in, ‘why waste another all world performance if we’re not even gonna score a goal?’ Can’t argue with that… but starting Talbot is not an option tonight.

          1. I would, but not a a penalty towards Hank, but more of a wake up call to the whole team. Extreme, yes, but a loss tonight and a very tired Hank on Wednesday is even worse.

        2. This is the playoffs. Hank should be in there. I wish Kreider would get back, then you him AND Miller (for Carcillo and Dorsett, though I like them both) in there for fresh legs. Then you hope Fleury implodes and Hank steals it.

          We should not discount that Fleury is a space shot. Just need a couple bounces guys. Let’s not go overboard w/ the gloom.

  6. St Louis & Nash now 28 consecutive games without a power play goal.

    Dorsett a veritable stupid PM machine who just doesn’t get it EVER. I have been saying this since Sather got Dorsett….why Dorsett????

    How many goals does Lundquist give up by opposing players? Seems most of the goals against Lundquist are gols knoked in by and players?

  7. I agree with inserting JT Miller to get some fresh blood in there. I don’t think breaking up the fourth line is an issue as it was quite good while Dorsett was hurt.

    More importantly, I would like to see Diaz inserted in place of McDonagh tonight (it won’t happen, I know). I do not deny that such a move will decrease the already minimal chance that the Rangers win tonight, but I think it will improve the Ranger chances of winning the Cup.

    Why? First of all, McDonagh is not right and if he stays not right, the Rangers don’t win against three really good teams. A day off at this point can be a big help. Second, Diaz would give the power play a new look and they might get a PP goal. All they need is one and the mind games go away. They wouldn’t need to keep playing him. Finally, giving Diaz some action prevents rust, which may matter if somebody gets hurt down the road.

    It is also true that an extra guy with fresh legs and a mentality of win it for Ryan might help tonight.

  8. Last night was a bad game, and, of course, it’s a pity to squander such a transcendent performance by Lundqvist. And the schedule is absurd, but what can you do? The schedule is what it is. I’m writing, though, because I’m so weary about the constant berating of the Rangers by the fan base everytime they lose. You would think this is a series against Buffalo or Edmonton…or even the Islanders. Look, sweeping two games from PIT would have been nice, but that was an unrealistic expectation going in. Last year, the Rangers lost the opening two away twice–they came back against the Caps, but it basically sank them against the Bruins. When you lose the first two, Game 3 becomes as close to a nonelimination must game as it gets. My attitude is that the Rangers did what they had to do–they got a split of the first two games. By all means, AV should make changes to the lines and possibly to the last defense pair. But we’re very much in this series–whether we win or lose tonight. LGR!

  9. The Rangers, for the most part, stayed out of the box last night, which is critical against the Pens.

    Lundqvist was absolutely sensational. These are good signs. Playing disciplined in front of an elite goalie. These are the keys to success.

    On the other hand, the PP was embarrassing and overall sustained offensive pressure was not there last night.

    You can behind great goaltending, disciplined play, and a few goals, even with a bad PP. But you need better 5-on-5 offensive production which never came through last night.

    I say bench Carcillo and play Miller tonight. On a back-to-back, you need fresh legs.

  10. I noticed several things in last nights game. In the first period when Carcillo got clocked in the chin on the left wing, the Referee closest to him looked away like nothing had happened, the penalty was called by the other ref. On the Pens first goal, I noticed a major interference on I think Pouliot in the offensive zone.

    How does Carcillo get a penalty at the Rangers goal, the guy hits him in the jaw and gets nothing? This officiating is horrible.

    That being said, with an impotent Power Play, ANY team is going to take liberties with us because there is no downside.

    Rick Nash is not engaged for whatever reason, concussion issues or head case issues. At least he hit Burtuzzo back for crosschecking St. Louis after the offside whistle. But, I doubt taht the refs were giving Burtozzo a penalty before Nash hit him back. McDonough is obviously not himself. We keep talking about depth, but we do not seem to have bodies to exchange here and there.

    So what was the difference between the team out there on Friday night and Sunday night? It was Pittsburgh reaction to us, and and last night it was the Rangers reacting to the Pens. They set the tempo.

    They out hit us. Too many finesse players and not enough grinders. And the finesse players keep passing instead of shooting. Nash had an opportunity and passed to Stephan.

  11. Really stupid penalty by Dorsett – one goal down after the whistle with five minutes to go Really, really stupid. He should sit for that alone. However he is one of the few guys who consistently take the body. I have no doubts that tonight will be much the same in terms of the Pens physicality. Carcillo didn’t play a bad game but he also pushes the limits on the whistles and it will cost us a goal one of these days.

    Was Nash suited up?? I don’t recall seeing him. Marty needs to open it up as well. Bring on Diaz for the PP…

  12. Pressure on the Rangers to finally win 2n a row.I wouldn’t be against putting JFast on the 4th line and JT Miller with BR.Fast is defensively responsible,quick and fast.The passing has to be better and the pp GOD knows.At home for two win two.Play hard smart passionate hockey boys.

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