Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
And so the Rangers are now 5-0 in potential series clinchers at the Garden over the last four years, and the common denominator to the team’s success is the uncommon goaltender named Henrik Lundqvist.
It’s on to the second round for the Blueshirts following Friday’s Game 5, 2-1 overtime triumph over the Penguins on Carl Hagelin’s goal from the right at 10:52. It’s on to the second round for the fourth straight season, a perhaps modest achievement, but not really, not in this NHL, not when the Rangers are the only team in the league to win at least one round every year beginning in 2012.
“It’s not a new feeling, but it’s not like you shrug your shoulders,” said Lundqvist, who turned in a sterling 37-save performance in withstanding the Penguins’ most stern challenge of this first round. “You don’t get too far in front of yourself, but you really appreciate the moment.”
from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
It’s not hopeless when you’re down, 3-1, in one of these NHL best-of-sevens, but the unfortunate thing for the Penguins is that they are not playing the Penguins, who have demonstrated a kind of ingrained readiness to give series away from that very vantage point.
The Penguins’ last best hope for the moment is, in fact, the venue tonight. At least they have a chance at beating the Rangers in Madison Square Garden, where they’ve won three of their past five playoff appointments.
“This game, going into New York, we win, the series changes completely,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Thursday. “And it heads in our favor, for sure.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Two for roughing on Dominic Moore.
from Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Kevin Hayes slipped the puck by goalie Marc-Andre Fleury 3:14 into overtime at Consol Energy Center, as the Rangers won, 2-1, to take a stifling 3-1 series lead back to Broadway.
Game 5 is 7 p.m. Friday at Madison Square Garden, where the stakes for the Penguins couldn’t be higher.
“We’re playing for our season now,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said. “The playoffs are about taking one thing very incrementally small at a time. Our process doesn’t change. We have to try and get one in New York and bring it home.”
That was the exact message of coach Mike Johnston.
He said the approach in a tight series is to find small ways to improve, maybe a faceoff, a matchup. Bring the information to the players. Then execute.
“We’re trying to get better each and every game. When you play a team so often you’ve got to pick up some little things in the game that can give you that advantage,” Johnston said.
Below, Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review does not like the hockey being played plus game highlights...
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Last season, he chipped in 12 points, including two game-winners during the Rangers’ run to the Stanley Cup finals. This season, the Rangers took a 2-1 series lead Monday night and are preparing for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Already, with the Rangers again picked by many to make a long playoff run, Brassard leads the way with two goals in three games.
It's not just his offense that makes the nifty center with the quick release so impressive. In fact, coach Alain Vigneault starts answering the question about Brassard's evolution as a complete player before it is fully asked.
“He’s become a very dependable two-way hockey player,” Vigneault said Tuesday. "His knowledge of the game has really improved, his confidence. He’s going up against all the top lines in the league, and he’s doing a real good job for us and we need that. We needed that evolution, and we got it from him.
"I would say it’s probably a process of a normal young player that’s got a lot of upside offensively but needs to learn to become an effective NHL player, and that’s what Brass has done."
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Even allowing for the way hockey is transformed from a regular-season Autobahn to playoff bumper-to-traffic that’s 12th Avenue northbound at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, you would still have every reason to believe this first-round series should still feature a cavalcade of entertainment, and should still be a showcase for some of the league’s most compelling talent, right?
Well, you would be wrong, Shanahan Summit-breath. For in its infinite wisdom, the NHL has decided fans and the sport are better served when its officials turn blind eyes toward the hooking, holding and obstruction fouls for which there was supposed to be a zero-tolerance level coming out of the canceled 2004-05 season.
Neither the Rangers nor Penguins have benefitted to a greater degree by this return to the bad old days. The officiating hasn’t been determinative in the Blueshirts’ 2-1 margin in the series that resumes with Wednesday’s Game 4, even if both sides have legitimate grievances over the way the games have been called.
Pittsburgh’s Running of Henrik Lundqvist has become an annual rite of passage, like the Running of the Bulls, with Chris Kunitz for the second consecutive spring the most notorious and unabashed culprit. Undeterred in their own right, the Rangers have taken liberties against Crosby and any other Penguin on the move.
New York, NY (April 21, 2015) – Last night’s Rangers game delivered a 4.84 HH Nielsen rating on MSG and MSG+ (game was simulcast on MSG+), averaging 535,105 total viewers. To date Rangers playoff games are averaging a 4.69 HH Nielsen rating on MSG Networks through round one, which is up 69% from last year’s playoff average through two games on MSG Networks. In addition the average A25-54 demographic ratings are up 83% from last year’s average through two games on MSG Networks, coming in at a 3.28 and averaging 271,285 adults in the demographic per game.
Last night’s A25-54 rating was a 3.74, averaging 309,778 adults in the demographic and was the second highest A25-54 rating for a first round game since the network began tracking demographic ratings in 2004 (highest is 4.08 in 2012).
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there was nothing pretty about this one that was contested along the boards, in the corners and in front of the net almost all the way … and in front of Henrik Lundqvist’s net for significant portions of the third period when the Penguins took advantage of a more passive/cautious Rangers’ approach.
Apparently conforming to a mandate from NHL headquarters to allow just about anything and everything go, the referees called next to nothing, thus prompting both teams to clutch and grab all over the ice, even when such obvious obstruction eliminated scoring chances.
Why the league wants this kind of a game is beyond anyone’s comprehension, but that’s what it got — a game out of the late ’90s and early 2000s, when obstruction and trapping ruled the day.
The Penguins sure have a kick on a couple of obvious Rangers infractions that not only erased opportunities, but immediately preceded both Blueshirts goals that were scored on ensuing rushes. And the Rangers have more of a kick on the frequent times the officials allowed Pittsburgh to hack, whack, bump and run at Lundqvist.
more on the game...
Game highlights are below...
via the NHL YouTube Channel,
The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins squared off in Game 2 on Saturday night. Listen in as microphones pick up the action on the ice.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
Add in a scarcity of scoring — and the fact that Crosby had counted just one goal in 19 post-season games prior to Saturday night — few were willing to give the Penguins a chance to advance past the opening round.
Little surprise, then, that Crosby’s two-goal effort in Saturday’s hugely significant 4-3 win at Madison Square Garden has taken a lick out of whatever self-doubt may have been eating at the team.
And with the series shifting back to the Steel City for Games 3 and 4, there is once again a glimmer of hope for the Penguins.
“Obviously we need (Crosby) to be a threat offensively and he’s been that through two games,” Pittsburgh centre Brandon Sutter said following a team meeting at the Consol Energy Center where the best-of-seven series will resume on Monday.
“He’s had the puck a lot, held on to a lot. When he has the puck down low and is spinning in the corners and making plays, that’s when he is so dominant.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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