Game Wrap-ups

Rangers-Penguins Game One Recap

Note: I apologize for the late post here, somebody (raises hand) fell asleep right after the game and had to write this in the morning.

The Rangers opened the 2015 playoffs in probably the most assuring way possible. 28 seconds into the game, Derick Brassard let one rip through the legs of Marc-Andre Fleury, easing any fear that fans could have regarding the intensity with which the Rangers would play. I never do a goal breakdown, so enjoy my favorite form of recap, the bullet list.

  • The biggest focal point to me was how absurdly undisciplined the Penguins are. Good lord. For a team that has talent – as much as we may discount it – they get really messed up between the ears really easily.
  • To build on that point, one has to wonder if that was something that Dan Bylsma allowed to happen. I wonder if he let them feel entitled, the way that Sid has felt for what seems like his entire life. Once your entire team takes on that mindset, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
  • All that being said, it must’ve been very difficult for Mike Johnston to take over this year. You think, hey broham is taking over some of the best talent in the league (say what you will, I would take Evgeni Malkin on my team every day and twice on Tuesdays), but you don’t really think about the attitude issues.
  • Now imagine if the Rangers had a really fearsome power play – the score would’ve been LOL-1.
  • The Rangers fell into trapping towards the end of the game, which is scary when you’re facing a team as talented as the Penguins. I don’t think (slash pray) this happens again.
  • Maxim Lapierre tried to get under the skin of just about everyone, and thankfully the Rangers didn’t fall into that. It’s so lovely to see how headstrong these guys are. They are FOCUSED, and it’s so exciting.
  • This is the first time I’ve felt unbelievably confident in the boys. Unfinished business. Remember the 2009 Penguins? [Insert smiley face here]
  • I could watch Keith Yandle rip a beautiful pass to Ryan McDonagh for roughly the rest of ever, so please please PLEASE Glen Sather, EXTEND THE MAN IN THE OFFSEASON.
  • Speaking of extensions, remember in July some fans that feared Brassard’s contract? How’s that going for you guys now? Brassard is having a career year. He’s shown that he thrives in the spotlight of Broadway since his very first game here. He needed a competitive market to do well, and lookie here, he is.
  • I’ll leave you all with this, courtesy of the Rangers. Brassard’s excitement after his goal is palpable. It’s just the best thing I’ve ever seen.

Game Two is Saturday night at 8pm on NBCSN. LGR!

"Rangers-Penguins Game One Recap", 5 out of 5 based on 9 ratings.
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  1. Solid, concise take on the game.

    What a bore that game was. The Rangers jumped out to a lead and gleefully coasted home. This is what you want to do when you are a #1 seed in the first round. I don’t care that the score was 2-1 this game was never as close as the score said and never really in doubt. It was one of the least stressful playoff games I can remember in a long long time.

    It goes to show how important quality defensemen are in the NHL. Pittsburgh wasted so much energy trying to get past the redline when they had the puck that by the time they got to the Rangers zone they were spent and all the Rangers had to do was shepherd the Penguins to the perimeter of the zone.

    Let’s hope for more of the same in Game 2!

    1. Back in 2009 the Pens had veteran leadership around the core of young talent. Now the young core is the veteran leadership and they’ve done a good job of wasting years of talented teams. They need to rebuild their Back-end. Letang should be a 3rd pair Dman.

      1. In Pittsburgh this may sound like Herrasy but they should attempt to trade Malkin. He has a NTC MODIFIED or not he has the power to veto or decide where he goes. Problem is the teams he wants to go to (he mentioned NYR) don’t really need him or could afford him.
        The Pens could use him at the draft and get a very high draft pick for him. As well as forward depth, a Dman or two. Even when healthy the Pens back end is a weakness. So is forward depth. They have no 4th line and only 2 lines scare anyone.

  2. Unlike some other Rangers squads of years past, this team is good enough to beat anybody in the league on pure talent. We don’t need to “out-toughness” the other team to steal a win. If we stay on our game and only take the body when it’s smart to do so, there’s nobody we can’t beat straight up.

    Let the guy in the other jersey take the dumb penalties.

    Last night was the first step in that direction. 15 more to go.

  3. Excellent wrap-up. Well written. One can sense the enthusiasm in your words.

    I am concerned about the “defensive shell” the Rangers fell into the last 33 minutes of the game. It worked, but you can’t allow that talented pens team to have skating room like that.

    1. Don’t mean to nitpick, but compared to the Rangers standard defensive shell, last night was a move away from it. They usually sit back on a lead a lot more then that.

      1. I agree with you on this one, Snake. I didn’t think they necessarily sat back. The forecheck was still there, they still spent a good amount of time in the attacking zone. I think Pitt had a strong push there (which would be expected), where the Rangers just weren’t as dominating as they were in the first period.

        I thought the issue was the Rangers were a little more loose with the puck when they had it, leading to more turnovers than I like to see, moreso than playing passively defensively.

        1. Agreed. You said it better then I did in my other post. They were “loose” with the puck. They weren’t playing at the top of their game, especially the unforced errors/giveaways.

          I was happy with the approach in the second half of the game…just not execution. That’s being nitpicky though. They played good enough to win. When they’re on their game they will dominate. 🙂

          1. LOL. I remember complaining about it last season during the playoffs and someone telling me all teams do it. Perhaps, but not to the extent the Rangers did. AV has been a little bit better about it this season. Maybe he’s finally hearing what Marc Stahl has been saying.

            My finger nails were gone by December. I have a pair of Rangers gloves I started wearing once the turtle tactics start. I’m serious too! I’m sure I’ll need a new pair at the end of the season, but it’s a lot less painful and bloody this way. 😀

    2. I agree MBN. I hate when AV falls back into a NZ trap. You need to continue to forecheck at least passively.
      I hated the 1-3-1 when the Boucher led Lightning used it but with a lead it creates turnovers and scoring chances when teams are pressing to tie.
      Instead of traping with a 1-2-2 why not moderately forecheck with a 1-3-1? We have the speed to have one guy back. I hate when teams get to fly across the redline with speed untouched.
      Those TB teams that got leads only got more odd man rushes from the 1-3-1.

  4. JT Miller deserves some lover here, I think. He was fired up from the first faceoff and played hard all nigh. He was one of the most noticeable Rangers forwards all game, and threw around his body at every opportunity without taking any penalties. I give him high marks for the performance.

    1. Miller has always played hard. His problem previously was that he didn’t do what the coach wanted him to do – things the fans didn’t notice like not coming off the ice promptly at the end of a shift. AV was down on Miller because he played like the Pens did last night – with talent, but not part of the system. Now he’s perfectly integrated and I think AV is rather fond of him. That’s why Vigneault is a great coach.

  5. 8 games in the books. 5 decided by 1 goal, 2 decided by 2 goals and 1 4-1 win. These are all going to be close games. Personally I like that Pittsburg never led in the game and it was only tied for 28 seconds. That makes a 2-1 game sound a little more lopsided.

  6. We won, that’s all I wanted. The score was too close, but we won. The Pens are the most penalized team in the NHL, and last night was an example of why that is so.

    Agree with your write up, but really Malkin on our team???????? As great as he is, there are stretches where he is nowhere to be found. In his place I’ll take Ovie, and be happy!!!!!!!!!!!

    On a side note, Downey is really a dirt bag, and a major penalty ready to be called at any time of the game……………

    1. Ovie over Malkin? Ovechkin is a “me first” prima dona who is more concerned with scoring titles and not playing defense than winning. I’ll take the Conn Smythe winner over him any day!

  7. The big story from a Rangers post-season perspective is that Girardi is skating this morning after taking a puck to the face. Especially with Klein still sidelined, you don’t want to lose a top Dman against *this* team.

    Sadly, I had to watch the game on NBCSNBCSNBCSN and I wanted to stick an awl in my eardrums. Pierre McGuire is so frickin’ annoying it’s intolerable. His interview questions with Ryan McDonough after the game where something like this….

    1. Why did the Penguins dominate you after two periods?
    2. Why is MAF so awesome?
    3. What can you do better to keep Pittsburgh from winning the series?
    4. Why do the Rangers suck?

    I thought the Rangers played a poor game by their standards and maybe that is what the hack Pierre was trying to get at. Their passing wasn’t great and they made some poor decisions with the puck. In general, I thought they were pretty sloppy. And in spite of all that, the Rangers still beat the Penguins. I think that’s a very positive thing. If you have a bad game and still win, esp in the playoffs, things bode well for you. I just hope they play better the rest of the series.


    1. You’re definitely right about playing a bad game and winning be a good thing. I wouldn’t say the Rangers played all that badly though, they just weren’t their normal, explosive selves for most of the game. They played as well they needed to to coast past a vastly inferior opponent.

      I think that was about the best game Pittsburgh can muster right now. It’s kind of shocking how little talent there is on their team outside of Malkin and Crosby. If clowns like Downie, Comeau, and Winnik are taking semi-regular shifts on the first and second lines you probably don’t have a very good team.

      Also, according to the NHL site Girardi practiced today with no extra attachments to his helmet other than the shield he normally wears. Like Dave is fond of saying, the dude is a cyborg!

      1. ROFLMAO!

        So did you watch NBCSNBCSN by choice or because you can’t get MSG where you live either?

        1. Yeah I live out of town. This guy is a form of torture and should be banned by Geneva convention

  8. I am happy for the win, but we can and need to play a more complete game. In Pitt, without the last change, we will not get the defensive matchups that shut down Cindy. Let’s go up 2-0 so the game in Pitt puts the Pens back against the wall.

    JT played well, Hags played well. Sometimes Nash shoots for the logo on the opposing goalies jersey way too much. Girardi needs a dentist and a mouthguard for game 2. Did anyone see Boyle? I think he played invisibly most of the game.

    1. No, Boyle was there, watch the Pens goal, you’ll see him get out-manned right there, in front our his goalie, in Henrik’s house. Not sure I saw him any other time so I guess invisible makes him look good in game #1.

    2. I’d like to give Fleury some credit as he was very aggressive, coming out to challenge teh shooters (see Hagelin’s mini-breakaway after Girardi’s poke forecheck takeaway). In those scenarios I thought Fleury played those perfectly. He really was excellent.

      Regarding Boyle, I thought he was the worst Ranger on the ice yesterday. He was very noticeable when he coughed up the puck on a few occasions in his own end.

      1. After watching last night’s game, I have a newfound respect for MAF. Poor man has to face so many power plays and stand on his head, especially with Martin as a top D-man.

  9. Agree about ass-head McGuire. Take a look at the MSG feed when Downie takes the roughing penalty on Zuke. He is beside himself, waving his arms like the jerk he is. Saturday is gonna be a terrible watch; win or lose. As for the game, if the pp was any good, they would have stopped this one after the first. Boyle was horrible. It looks like he is just making it up as he goes. I thought the rest of the D looked really strong; that’s why Boyle stood out. The only chances the Pens got were on giveaways and on Hank giving out rebounds. They tried to crash the net every time a puck was loose. Staal and McD need to put them on their asses when they try and get to Hank. Overall, a so-so game with a lot of broken plays. But who cares; they won! 15 more to go.

    1. During the presser today, AV even admitted Boyle didn’t have a good game with the puck, but he was quick to point to his positives. Everyone isn’t going to be great every night.

      15 to go indeed!

  10. On TSN 1050 this morning, Pierre McGuire spoke about the Rangers and Penguins.

    Pierre said, “I give the Penguins credit, they battled pretty hard the last 40 minutes of that game. The first 20 minutes they were shell shocked and took terrible penalties and couldn’t contain the stretch pass of the Rangers and the coaching staff had to make some significant changes going into the second and third period and they did that by taking away the stretch pass and being more aggressive and not getting a third guy caught deep, trying to keep the game along the boards and take the speed element out of the Ranger game.”

    He added, “Mike Johnston, Rick Tochett and Gary Agnew did some good things in terms of adjustments but they didn’t have enough. Even when the Rangers had breakdowns Henrik Lundqvist was there. It’s going to be a tough series if the Penguins can’t get a lead. They need to find a way to get a lead.”

    Totally ignoring the defensive lockdown that the Rangers put on Cindy and the girls the last 10 mins of the game. Saturday is gonna be one of those games where i listen to music instead of tv audio.

    1. Double thumbs up on that one, man. I can’t take any more of frickin’ Pierre. I’d rather listen to the radio audio ‘cast out of synch then the NBC crew.

  11. The only time to turn up the sound on Ranger games is after a goal so you can get some insight during the replay (and to hear Gooooooooooall -Hey, Hey, Hey Hey Hey). We all know enough here that we do not always need to hear the “color analyst” as they seem to get paid by the word, not by value.

    I do like the “between the glass” insight provided by whats his name.

  12. So are all y’all watching some games tonight or taking the night off?

    I plan to watch Montreal/Ottawa and Calgary/Vancouver. I’d really rather watch Caps/Isles and Chicago/Nashville, but which games I watch really depends on whether or not Pierre McGuire is working the Caps/Isles game or not. If he is, then I’ll probably watch Chicago/Nashville as the 2nd game.

    1. I’m a sucker for the Sens, and a full-blown Habs hater, so I’m watching this one and I’ll throw on the Hawks game after. Hawks-Preda is a great series to watch.

        1. Magic is the operative word. It was nice to hear someone acknowledge the Rangers ending that magic. He had a good career though. Short, but good.

      1. Sens/Habs game was ok. Not great and obviously not the way you wanted to see it end. After watching both of those games I’m getting really tired of seeing P.K.’s face. He’s solidly into Buttfuglin/Crosby/Simmonds level of “I hate that guy”. 😀

        1. oh…and Chris Neal….which is why I don’t hate Ottawa as much right now since he isn’t playing.

  13. Oh heck no! I will be laid out on the couch (instead of standing up watching the entire Ranger game in my living room lol)watching the Ice Landers and switching to the other games as often as I can.

    As far as dealing with Pierre for tomorrow’s broadcast on NBC…..I’m seriously thinking of listening to Don LaGreca call the game on the radio as I watch it.

  14. Boyle was horrid!

    He said that the Ranger’s didn’t get him to win games in November, they got him to win in the playoffs.

    I’m still waiting.

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