There is no way that this series was ever going to be a sweep for the Rangers. We all know that while the Penguins are still a team limping to the rink, they still have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to keep their team in the game.
After Derek Stepan converted a shot off the far post and in late in the first period, you wondered if the Penguins were going to try and make a charge into the second period to tie or take the lead.
It happened at 8:12 of the second as it looked like Carl Hagelin tripped up Taylor Chorney from behind, but replays showed that Chorney fell down all by himself as he lost his balance and Hagelin’s stick never touched him. A phantom call changed the momentum against the Rangers and all of a sudden the Penguins got life.
Brandon Sutter converted to tie the game at 10:01 with a power play goal and then all of a sudden Crosby exploded by scoring two goals in consecutive shifts. One goal in nineteen playoff games all of a sudden became two goals within a 4:39 span. Patric Hornqvist forced a pad save by Lundqvist that became a rebound chance & then a Bobby Orr imitation by Crosby that gave the Pens a two goal lead.
Chris Kunitz converted another power play goal late in the third period and the game was officially out of reach. But once again the Penguins were guilty of undisciplined penalties and gave the Rangers seven chances to either add on to their early lead or tried to go tit for tat on the scoreboard.
Derek Brassard scored his second of the playoffs on the power play at the 3:16 mark of the third, but sadly that was the only tally on special teams for the game. The Rangers power play once again has been lacking goals, but the truth is that they have been getting looks and are putting shots at the net. Give Fleury a lot of credit for making big saves during the Rangers man advantage, also these average defensemen for the Penguins are blocking shots to help their goaltender. So as of right now the Rangers need to try to take advantage of Fleury giving up rebounds and stuffing them in the net.
As the game has gone on sadly you have to say that Dan Boyle doesn’t look like the quick defenseman that he use to be as he has skated slow and looked like he’s being taken advantage of by the speedy Penguins forwards. He can still get on the power play and rip shots from the point, but right now you hope to see Kevin Klein make a return to the lineup and maybe sit Boyle down for a game so he can get a break. I don’t know if Vigneault will ever do that, but right now he needs some answers.
But at the end of the day the series is tied at one and now moves to Western Pennsylvania at Pittsburgh, some are saying the Rangers have lost all momentum but I don’t think that’s the case. The Penguins are still undisciplined and creating un-necessary penalties and when the Rangers finally take advantage of that, it will be their series and let’s also not forget that the Rangers were a great road team during the season.
Just take a deep breath and relax Rangers fans, still plenty of hockey to go and all is not lost after just a loss when two games have already been played.
Author: Daniel Feuerstein