New York Rangers: 0 Pittsburgh Penguins: 2
and Daniel Carcillo were out to add J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast back into the line-up. The game started out fairly even until Marcel Goc took a really stupid penalty at 5:16 by punching Dom Moore in the shield and knocking him down. There was life to the power play but no goal. Henrik Lundqvist made a beautiful save on Kris Letang, who had the short-handed break away attempt. Marc-Andre Fleury saw a flurry of shots near the 10 minute mark but he was able to stop them all. The referees weren’t as heavy on the whistles as we’ve seen in most other games this post season, they let the guys play. There were plenty of heavy hits and “old-fashioned hockey” behaviors. Marc Staal was an absolute beast playing Sidney Crosby hard. Those two were strongly reminiscent to the match-ups between Ryan McDonagh and Alex Ovechkin of the last two years. James Neal nailed Jesper Fast right in the face with his stick at 18:15 and drew blood. The Rangers were gifted a full four minutes of power play time, much like early in the series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Benoit Pouliot had a really great shot that beat Fleury but hit the post. The teams headed to the dressing rooms scoreless but the Rangers out shot the Penguins 10-7, out hit them 11-8, and won more face-offs 11-7. The Rangers stole the puck five times from the Penguins but turned it over eight times.
The Rangers opened the period with 2:15 remaining on the power play/ With about 45 seconds remaining in the power play, Martin St. Louis beat Fleury but rang the post instead. The Rangers’ power play woes continued. There were chances for the Rangers but Sidney Crosby beats Lundqvist five hole to get the Penguins on the board first. His first goal of the playoffs, first on Lundqvist since the Sochi Olympics and too many other things to mention. It was the Penguins’ first shot on goal of the period. With a fire in their bellies the Rangers came to play. They got great chances and at the 12 minute mark Mats Zuccarello blasted the crossbar and the puck didn’t completely cross the goal line. The Rangers really started digging deep and bringing the pressure on the Penguins. The Rangers had momentum then Kevin Klein took a minor for cross checking at 10:19 in the period. At 15:20 Jussi Jokinen netted the second goal of the game after Zuccarello turned the puck over. After that everything just went down hill. There was very little action just skating and puck movement. The Rangers were clearly fatigued and the Penguins did everything they could to exploit them. The Rangers headed to the dressing room out shooting the Penguins 16-7 but it didn’t make a difference on the score board. They Penguins held the lead at 2-0.
The period started painfully slow. The Penguins did what they had to do to continue their defensive play and protect their lead. Two goal leads have not been safe thus far in the post season; this game defied that precedent. Derek Stepan and Rick Nash had a fair attempt at a shot around 11:15 in the period but Fleury answered the call. The crowd was quiet but there were occasional faint cheers and chants arising like the wind through the trees. The Penguins weren’t even shooting the puck. With 2:45 remaining, the Rangers called Lundqvist to the bench for the extra attacker and managed to get a power play. Zuccarello drew a penalty on Matt Martin at 18:02 and the Rangers played six on four. It didn’t matter because the Rangers got shut out again by the Penguins. Shots for the period were 9-1 in favor of the Rangers for a game total of 35-15; the Rangers just couldn’t finish.
The Rangers play again on Wednesday, 7 May at 7:30 pm ET. Hopefully the Rangers get a whole lot of rest and come back to the ice ready to play. Tonight was just painful.