Well, the Rangers woke up. The coaches woke up and the result was a gutsy, gritty performance for the NHL's leading road team and now the Rangers have a 2-1 series lead. It was two big plays, outstanding D and excellent goaltending that silenced the chippy Pens and their home town crowd.
This game was not for the feint of heart.
The Rangers caught the Pens in a line change and Hagelin blew one past Fleury for a 1-0 lead on a beautiful pass from Yandle. In the second period Staal shot the puck to the right of Fleury off the boards and there was Kreider to poke it in for a 2-0 lead. Dan Girardi, who excelled on D all night, got a second assist on both goals. So the D racked up four of the six points the team would be credited with.
The Pens stormed back in the third where they threw everything they had, 13 shots, plus Sydney Crosby's elbows, to score their one goal, Hornqvist, to make for a very exciting and nervous finish. Its amazing that a guy with Crosby's past problems would go head hunting, on McDonagh. Its also amazing that the refs wouldn't call a penalty. Wonder why the guy is probably the least respected super star in the game.
The stars of the game were many. The D, led by Girardi was outstanding all night. Even Boyle was good and tough. Lundqvist was great despite being harassed, hit and taunted. The O led by Hagelin and Kreider were great and the fourth line was absolutely terrific all night. The refs, as usual, stunk. The NHL have the worst officiating in all of sports.
Now it's on to Wednresday when the Rangers have a chance to make a big step forward and put a lock on the series. Should be another good one. Not for the feint of heart. What was Dan Carcillo's line? "It's a man's game."
For an excellent photo/vidclip recap of the game visit the Pensblog and their #hardparty:
|End of game scrum|