Penguins 3, Rangers 0 (Series tied 1-1)

Box Score

It would be much easier for me to tell you who played well tonight compared to who didn’t and I’d be able to end this recap right here…

All kidding aside, if not for Lundqvist playing at 110% tonight, there’s a decent chance you would be able to count how many goals Pittsburgh scored tonight on two hands.

Marc Andre Fleury was awarded with a shutout tonight. The Rangers play certainly didn’t make him earn it…

First time so far this postseason the Rangers looked fatigued. Game 6 against Philly can be pointed to a lack of effort, “mailing it in” among other things, but boy did the Rangers look worn out in this one. Not once were they able to sustain pressure in Pittsburgh’s end for a long period of time, they lost battle after battle along the boards and were completely out muscled by Penguin forecheckers for 60 minutes. Pittsburgh finished all of their checks at will.

Give the home side some credit for playing a nearly perfect game. After getting through the first 3 Ranger power plays, they settled in and dominated with the puck. The Penguins played with far more desperation and urgency to send the series back to MSG tied than the Rangers (un)willingness to go home with a 2-0 stranglehold in the series.

No matter what tactical/personnel changes AV makes on the power play, if the effort isn’t there, neither will the results. The first power play was abysmal beyond words. Stepan hit the post on the second power play off a feed from Nash, who I thought was the best Ranger, besides Lundqvist on the ice tonight. (not saying much.) The Rangers failed to register a shot on the third power play. The complete ineptitude with the man advantage set the tone for the entire game.

This was a pretty forgettable performance, but on the bright side and considering how badly the Rangers played, they were only down 1 heading into the third, primarily in part due to Lundqvist’s performance in net.  Still, I would look for AV to make a lineup change or two heading into tomorrow. Hagelin’s speed is being wasted on a line with Richards and Carcillo who was consistently ahead of the play with no one to pass to. Perhaps the fresh legs and perhaps a little bit of snarl from JT Miller will get that line going. At least Miller has some willingness to go to the front of the net unlike many of his teammates.

Derek Dorsett is this year’s Michael Haley. He is literally a waste of a roster spot. His penalty late in the third should earn him his rightful spot in the press box. Chris Kreider’s return cannot come soon enough.

On the defensive side, maybe its Raphael Diaz’s turn to get a chance on the Ranger blueline. He has shown he is capable of handling quarterback duties. Give him a turn AV. It couldn’t hurt at this juncture.

The Rangers have lost their last 8 Game 2’s dating back to their last win against the Capitals in 2009.

Game 3 thanks to the NHL’s brilliant scheduling is just 24 hours from now, back at MSG. Hopefully some home-cooking can right the Rangers’ ship.