The New York Rangers grabbed the early series lead last night. It may not have been pretty, but the team has had games like that. The important stat is the one where they have more goals than their opponents by game’s end
Here are a few of my observations from last night’s game:
I think it was important for the team to get the early lead. Last night, the Rangers came out flying and jumped on Marc-Andre Fleury and the Penguins in the first: 28 seconds of the game.
The team did what they are good at it. Tape-to-tape stretch passing, putting shots on goal, grab the rebound, and roofing another shot into the back of the net before the goalie had time to blink.
Especially a goalie such as Fleury, who has shown time to time, he can get rattled and that carries over to the rest of the team.
The Rangers should keep doing this ‘blitzkreg’. Score and score often. Remain vigilant and put pressure on Fleury early.
Crowding the King’s courtyard
Last night, it was pretty clear what the Penguins game plan was, regarding Henrik Lundqvist. Get in his crease and get as much traffic and bodies in his way, as often as you can.
Especially on the Penguins lone goal, Lapierre made that happen by being setting up shop in front of Lundqvist. He basically man-handled Dan Boyle and cause some much traffic with his actions, that he may have distracted Lundqvist just enough to get him off his game. After stopping the shot, Blake Comeau gobbled up the rebound and put the puck in the back of an open net.
Just like with Fleury, the way to Lundqvist’s head is by making life difficult in his crease. Sure, there were penalties called on goalie interference last night. But, the Penguins made their presence known.
Hopefully, the Rangers defense will protect the crease more for Game Two and anticipate the Penguins thinking.
New York Rangers
Power Play disadvantage
It’s hard to fathom what the Rangers are doing on the power play.
Last night, they went one for five with the man-advantage. But, they could have taken the game’s momentum early with two Penguins penalties.
They could have made an early statement, if they scored on at least one of those. At that time, the Rangers were the faster team, the crowd on their side, and putting the Penguins on their heels.
Someone on the power play unit just needs to take charge and lead the rush. Either that, or stop doing the skate up to the center line and drop pass to a trailer or elect to pass it back to a defender to lead. It’s causing time to be loss and creating doubts.
Undisciplined will be the Penguins undoing
That first period was telling of the Penguins way to losing this series.
The first four penalties of the game were committed by Penguins. Aside from Kunitz’s goalie interference penalty, some unnecessary plays put the team in the hole early, one they were lucky to not have come back to bite them.
- The interference call by the young defenseman Taylor Chorney on Tanner Glass. He went straight for the body, no regard for the puck it appeared.
- The roughing penalty on Comeau. He was battling with Dominic Moore towards the corner. Fists were thrown through the whole play. Though, it was a weak call, it was still borerline and the Penguins got penalized.
- The slashing penalty by David Perron on Carl Hagelin. As Hagelin was going behind the net, Perron tried to stop him with his stick. Instead of hooking him, Perron decided to slash at Hagelin, coming close to injuring him.
That’s just not a good way to play, especially in the playoffs. After the first, the Penguins tightened up and played better, disciplined hockey.
If the Penguins continue to play like they did in the first period, the Rangers should welcome it and pounce on their misfortunes.
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