The Penguins were 1-5 on their power play, generating fifteen shots on goal on the PP and thirty-two shots over all. The Rangers were 0-6 on the power play getting only nine shots on goal and twenty-six over all. Therein lies the tale of today's 2-0 Pens win giving them a 2-0 edge in the series that now goes back to New York where the Rangers must win the next two games. Also, the Penguins blocked twenty-two Ranger shots and the Rangers only blocked nine Penguin shots. The hits were even at twenty-eight apiece and the only key area won by the Rangers were faceoffs where they held a 37-20 edge. Unfortunately the Rangers could not capitalize on that stat just as they failed to capitalize on the power play, a bugaboo all season long.
Coach clueless made one lineup change, but looking at it I came to the conclusion that he made no lineup changes. Petr Prucha was penciled in over Colton Orr and got all of 5:50 of ice time including no time at all on the power play. Sean Avery, agitator extraordinaire in front of a goalie, got no ice time on the power play. In fact, Avery got the least ice time, 12:43, of the top six forwards. Ryan Callahan and Nigel Dawes got eight seconds each on the power play. So four young, aggressive type players got zilch on the power play while the usual suspects who have been ineffective all year on the power play got at least 5:25, Shanahan, to a high of 6:46 for Jagr who got three shots on goal the entire game and had four blocked. Martin Straka, who you would think would come out roaring after yesterday's call, got 20:45 of ice time, 6:00 of power play time with all of one shot on goal, one blocked shot, one missed shot but many pirouettes. He also has no luck as his game tying goal with a little over four minutes to go was overruled as the whistle blew before the puck squirted over the goal line. Tough call, but the rules can be cruel. Two games in a row Straka is involved in a game changing call.
Coach clueless has basically destroyed Petr Prucha this year. The guy who holds the Ranger rookie record for power play goals in a season and scored thirty goals in his rookie season has been relegated to the taxi squad so to speak. His percentage of a goal per game for his career is 28%, exceeded on the Rangers only by Jagr and Drury, and Drury is only at 30%. Prucha belongs on the PP and deserves more that six minutes of ice time. The power play has killed the Rangers all year and is the only constant on this team. The constant is bad and it lost a big game today.
Give the Pens credit though. Even though an effective power play could have turned the game around, the Pens controlled the game from start to finish. Fleury won the game but I don't really think he outplayed Lundqvist. Lundqvist made 30 saves, many spectacular, and Fleury made 26 saves.The defense in front of Fleury was solid as the twenty-two block shots attest to. The Rangers need some changes for game three, but I doubt that clueless will make them. The fourth line of Betts, Hollweg and Orr should be reunited. Prucha needs to be on one of the top three lines. Clueless will not sit Straka, even though he should, so maybe he should replace Dawes who is struggling a bit. I don't like to see Dawes sitting, but Straka will never be benched and Fredrik Sjostrom should sit. I fail to see what he brings to the party.
On defense, it's time to put Christian Backman in the observatory. He got over twenty minutes of ice time with 5:46 of power play time and no shots on goal the entire game. Play Jason Strudwick who brings stability and toughness, both qualities lacking in Backman, and both needed for our defense corp. I also don't understand the philosophy on the power play that has two defensemen at the points. Well, I do understand it. Coach clueless is playing defense even when the Rangers are on the power play. He is more concerned with giving up a shorthanded goal than scoring a powerplay goal. Both changes will probably not be made for Sjostrom and Backman were acquired by the Stealth GM and there is no way clueless will buck the GM. If the Stealth acquires them they must be great. Remember how long we had to live with Poti?
The Rangers are now in a similar position that they were in last year against Buffalo, down 2-0 in games and coming home. However, they cannot let Pittsburgh seize control of the game like they did today. I still believe that the best defense is a strong offense and we need an effective power play but did not have that today. Lundqvist played one whale of a game today. Too bad the Rangers didn't match him. The Penguins are now undefeated in the playoffs. But it ain't over yet!
Rangers Unplugged in Pittsburgh -- the credit has to go to the Penguins, their underrated defense turning in an outstanding performance in limiting the Rangers' scoring chances at even strength as well as on the power play...
Rangers No-Show -- In playoff hockey, the team that leaves it all on the ice is the one who prevails. Simply said, the Rangers have yet to do it. They didn't even seem to break a sweat until late in the third period, when the urgency factor kicked in. And that is just not good enough. They limp home down 2-0 after losing Game 2 2-0. They tried to adapt their style of play to the way the Pens play and it didn't work...
Aggggggghhh! -- These are grown men. The instructions are very simple. Keep your sticks down and if you lose position on the enemy, you are baiting the referees by reaching in with the twig...
- Battleship Kelly vs Bob Lorimer
- bob nystrom vs bob kelly
- John Wensink vs. J.-Bob "Battleship" Kelly [battleship is sunk]