Tuesday, April 29, 2008
First off, I'd just like to thank Dubi over at the Blueshirt Bulletin for writing a nice blog entry about me and my thoughts of the game 2 loss to the Penguins. Now, on with the game...
The Pittsburgh Penguins are making it look easy so far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They added to their 7 game win streak with a 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night. The Rangers threw everything they had at Marc Andre Fleury and essentially outplayed Pittsburgh for most of the game (they outshot the Pens 39 to 15). Marc Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh's PP, and the Pens depth of skill players came through for Pittsburgh in the end.
First, Fleury outplayed Henrik Lundqvist by making save after save, while on the flip side - Lundqvist could never make the big save when it was really needed. I personally thought this was a big edge at the beginning of the series, but Fleury has outplayed Lundqvist - like it or not! The Pens PP looked so good it's almost not fair! They move the puck with ease and find lanes to get their shots on goal without being blocked or deflected. The Penguins depth of skill players is outstanding with Crosby, Malkin, Hossa, Malone, Sykora, and Gonchar - they are pretty stacked!
The game started off bad, with a terrible cross-ice pass through the neutral zone by Rozsival which in turn led to a goal by Hossa. From there, the Rangers tied it on a Marty Straka goal - thanks in part to a crashing of the net by Jaromir Jagr (who by the way was the best player on the ice tonight, he played with a burr up his butt tonight!). Georges Laraque then made it 2-1 when Fedor Tyutin missed a hit on Laraque along the boards and then was real weak with his clearing attempt - putting it right on Laraque's stick. Malkin then made it 3-1 with a blast from the point, while Ryan Callahan was serving a double-minor for high sticking. The Rangers had plenty of chances to get back in the game when not once, but twice they had a two-man advantage PP. However, their attempts to score looked rather amateurish and they could not capitalize on their great opportunities on the two-man advantages. I will give the Rangers high marks for continuing to play hard and they eventually evened the score at 3 a piece due to goals by Callahan and Jagr. All of the momentum was on the Rangers side when Scott Gomez rang one off the pipe, but Ryan Hollweg took that all away with a DUMB penalty for boarding Petr Sykora.
Now, I understand what Hollweg brings to the team - energy, physical play, and a little excitement to get the crowd going. In fact, he was part of the great shift that led to Gomez's shot off the post - but he's got to be aware of the moment of the game and be able to stay under control. Unfortunately, he did not and it cost the Rangers dearly when Malkin blasted another one by Lundqvist on the ensuing PP. In the end the Rangers could not beat Fleury enough, their PP was non-existent, and when they needed a big save - it never came. It's disappointing to outshoot, outplay, and really outchance the Penguins for so long... and lose. It makes no sense, but enough squaking about it. That's hockey! The Rangers now face the brink of elimination.