Penguins at Rangers

Penguins 2, Rangers 0

The New York Rangers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins by the score of 2-0 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, tonight. The Penguins lead the series 2-1. For a box score, so to Yahoo! Sports.

…the Rangers have now competed in 10 playoff games and not a single one has had the intensity or passion you’d come to expect in the postseason. I get that Vigneault wanted to take the emotion out of the Flyers series for obvious reasons, but the lack of energy and killer instinct against the Penguins is unacceptable and inexcusable. This is time of year teams need to dig down deep and find another level, so I don’t want to hear any bullsh*t about a tough schedule. It it what it is, so deal with it. I’ve seen more urgency from teams in the preseason.

…having said that, the real reason the Rangers didn’t win tonight is they couldn’t get the little black disc into that metal netted thingy. No, the Penguins weren’t the better team (both teams were mediocre) nor were the Rangers not tough enough (outhit the Pens 30-15). The bottom line is you can’t win if you don’t score. Too many low quality shots and not enough bodies to the net. Wash, rinse, repeat with this team. Finishing has been a problem all season and it was again tonight.

…while they didn’t score, I actually thought the power play looked competent. Actual shots on goal and they were even able to enter the zone cleanly a few times. But the bottom line is the power play has become a liability as it’s not only draining momentum, it’s also leading directly to Penguin goals.

jokigoal

…and the reason for the uptick in power play efficiency was Diaz. I loved his mindset coming into the game. Grip it and rip it. Six shots on goal to bolster a defense who has been an absolute no show offensively in the postseason.

…before the game Vigneault said the Penguins top players put on their big boy pants in Game 2 and his needed to do the same tonight. Looks like they left those garments at the dry cleaner, because they were again a no show on the scoreboard. Nash is now pointless in his last seven games, while St. Louis and Stepan are pointless in their last five. It’s never a good thing when the goal post has a bigger impact on the game than your supposed best players.

zuccpost

…i thought Stepan was particularly awful tonight as he looked like he was skating in quicksand most of the night. The only thing slower than his foot speed was his shot release.

…wrap your head around this stat. Rick Nash has TWO power play points in the last 41 games. And they were both assists. Yes, your $7.8 million a year All Star forward who you traded two fan favorites, a former first round defenseman and a future first round pick has ZERO power play goals in the last FORTY ONE GAMES. How many more years on that contract?

…i thought defense and goaltending was supposed to win the Rangers the series, not the Penguins.

…and that’s not to say the Rangers blueline and Lundqvist haven’t been amazing because when you allow just six non-empty net goals in three games to the Penguins, while holding Crosby and Malkin to a combined one non-empty net goal you must be doing something right.

…it’s absolutely mind boggling that Vigneault was hired because of the 2013 Tortorella led Blueshirts’ ineptness on offense as well as their embarrassingly inefficient power play in the playoffs. And now, a year later, they’re literally in the same exact situation. The more things change…

…if your reasoning for replacing two hard working, lunch pale veterans for hungry energetic youngsters is to get fresh legs into a tired lineup, wouldn’t it make sense to play them more than a combined 20 minutes?

…no one can convince me McDonagh isn’t playing injured. He’s half the player he was during the regular season. The Penguins aren’t even targeting him the way the Flyers were.

…i thought this series would have been tailor made for Zuccarello’s skill set, but maybe he needs a tough, physical opponent to motivate him.

…now that the Rangers are down in a series for the first time this postseason, it’s real easy for us to take on a defeatist attitude, but we have to remember it’s not a sprint it’s a marathon. Series aren’t won or lost in Game 3. And as I’ve been preaching, momentum never carries over from game to game. I can assure you that the Rangers have already moved on from this so it might be time for us to do this same. This is far from being over Rangers fans. So let’s take tomorrow to recover and come back positive on Wednesday. The Penguins have been far from the dominant team and this series is still there for the taking.

Highlights…

Post game talk…

Kevin

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