It was an uneven fight. A surging, getting well team against a tired hurting team. It looked good for a period and then in an instance, 1:12 to be exact, it was over. Two quick goals, Malkin and Cooke and a 3-1 lead never relinquished and now the Penguins are only four points behind the Rangers for the top spot in the East and the Pens have a game in hand.
The Penguins got back their Captain, Sidney Crosby and also Chris Letang and Paul Martin. The Rangers continued to play without their MVP, Henrik Lundqvist, supposedly out with the flu, and Ryan Callahan their dynamic Captain out with a sore foot. Michael Del Zotto is also out with bruised ribs. Without Lundqvist the Rangers have no chance of beating anyone, no less the top team in the NHL. The Pens have now won ten straight and show no signs of stopping soon.
Outside of the injuries the only thing the Rangers showed was a top line and nothing else. Richards, Gaborik and Hagelin are really clicking. Each had two points each with Gabby and Hagelin getting the goals. The Rangers were credited with 34 hits but I didn't see one Ranger even lay a glove on Crosby, or brush by him, or whisper in his ear.
While the Rangers are going backwards the rest of the East is catching up. The Flyers, who have suddenly found goaltending are only six points behind the Rangers and the Devils are only eight points behind. Fatso is now back to flourishing in the net unencumbered by the spectre of Sean Avery 'stalking' him. So what's Mike Rupp doing these days? Besides post game interviews, nothing much.
There is still time to right the ship. The key is Lundqvist returning. Biron is not up to the job. Callahan is also a must as the second line has to get going. You can't do it with one line. No way. However, the team is one tired team and it doesn't have the depth of the Pens, Flyers, Blues and Red Wings, some of the top teams in the NHL. The following week should be interesting.