We all saw what happens when the Rangers don’t play their type of hockey; they get blitzed by Sidney Crosby and company losing the game and have a tied series. But this time around the series shifted to Pittsburgh at the Consol Energy Arena and the Rangers repeated their Game 1 performance with another 2-1 win against the Penguins and took the series 2-1.
The Rangers started off strong again in the opening period and both sides were jostling for position on the ice. Once again these sides were battling hard for the puck and for the third time in this series the Rangers scored first on a beautiful pass from Keith Yandle to a wide open Carl Hagelin who just came off the bench speeding towards the net and a hard slap shot beats Marc-Andre Fleury at 8:43 of the 1st period.
That play was started by a solid defensive effort by Yandle as he marked Crosby beautifully coming into the Rangers zone and after a shoving match regained the puck and found the lane to give Hagelin that chance to get the shot on net. In the second period the Rangers continued to play solid defense and when the chances came to get something on net, they were able to make them count.
After their second power play expired the momentum led to converting their second goal of the game. At 11:07 of the second the Rangers were able to move the puck around and as it came back towards the blue line Dan Girardi makes a quick cross ice pass to Marc Staal who purposely sent the puck towards the backboards as a pass and Chris Kreider was wide open who quickly converted from a tight angle.
Patric Hornqvist pulled one back at the 13:12 mark of the third period, but once again it was Lundqvist time as he continued to make a ton of saves with help from his friends and when there was 13.6 left on the clock with the final faceoff inside the Rangers zone to Lundqvist’s right, the Penguins couldn’t do anything except start a brawl after the final horn was sounded and the home town Penguins fans started to boo their home town team.
The Rangers power play went 0 for 2 with a total of 2 for 14 in this series. But while this game showed they couldn’t keep the puck in the offensive zone, their total team defense made up for the lack of finishing on special teams. Once again Fleury did make some good saves, but once again shutting down Crosby & Malkin was the big issue for the Rangers and did so flawlessly.
The only way to prevent the Penguins any chance to tie this series or allow them to take a lead is the Rangers mental game to give them a big let down and that can’t happen at all. That’s why this team while limping into the playoffs are still a dangerous side if you take a mental break on the ice. So for the Rangers to truly end this series they need to continue their concentration and play their game.