by Tony on 03/28/09 at 05:54 PM ET
The important thing is that the Penguins won the game. They got the two points, and the Rangers got none, a good four-point win, as they say.
So in that respect, it doesn’t matter how they did it. But if you’re one of those who analyzes how they did it, you spent most of today’s game at the Igloo shaking your head.
In a penalty-filled game, the Penguins sure did their best to keep the Rangers in the game, but in the end a Sidney Crosby breakaway goal midway through the third period after splitting the Rangers defensemen was the game-winner, as the Penguins bested the Rangers, 4-3.
The win now gives the Penguins 90 points, which in other years would qualify them for the playoffs. While it won’t do it this year, it does keep the pressure on both the Flyers and Canes for 4th and 5th place in the East.
As indicated, it was a very sloppy, turnover-filled, special teams type of game. That translated into a frustrating 0-for-9 performance on the powerplay for the Penguins. Granted, a few of those were either only a few seconds long, or at the end of the game, but nonetheless both powerplay units were absolutely horrible. In fact, on those 9 powerplays they only had 8 shots on net. The majority of the time the Penguins could hardly get their powerplay set up.
Max Talbot put the Penguins on the scoreboard first midway through the first period. After a failed Penguins powerplay (what else is new), Ruslan Fedotenko made a backhanded centering feed to Talbot, who skated into the Rangers’ zone with speed and quickly snapped a wrister through the five hole of Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist to give the Pens a 1-0 lead at the 8:57 mark.
They doubled their lead a few minutes later when Evgeni Malkin made a great backhanded feed to the net, where Talbot got a good shot on net that Lundqvist stopped. Matt Cooke fired a backhanded rebound that Lundqvist also stopped, but Cooke poked the rebound high over the sprawling Lundqvist and into the net to make it 2-0 Pens.
And then, the Penguins stopped. They stopped skating, they stopped forechecking, they just stopped.
And as a result, the Rangers got back into the game. They got their first goal late in the first period off a faceoff in the Pens’ zone. Sean Avery attempted to gain possession, but lost control of the puck. Ryan Callahan one-timed the loose puck past Marc-Andre Fleury to cut the Pens’ lead to 2-1 at the 18:28 mark. The coupled that with a Brandon Dubinsky wraparound goal with only 4 seconds to go in the period to tie the game at two.
But the Penguins got back in the lead about four minutes into the second period immediately after a near-goal by Scott Gomez. Rob Scuderi dished the puck to Fedotenko for a 2-on-1 break with Jordan Staal. Fedotenko held onto the puck then fired a wrister past Lundqvist to give the Pens a 3-2 lead. Lundqvist appeared to be distracted by the stick of Rangers’ defensemen Derek Morris.
After a very iffy interference penalty on Bill Guerin washed out a Penguins’ powerplay late in the second period, the Rangers tied the game back up on the ensuing 4-on-4. Dan Girardi brought the puck into the Pens’ zone and fed it to Chris Drury, whose wrister was stopped by Fleury. However, new Ranger Nik antropov was there to wrap the rebound past Fleury to make it 3-3.
It stayed that way until the midway point of the third period when Crosby took a centering feed from Fedotenko, split the Rangers’ defense, and fired a wrister to glove side of Lundqvist and into the net for the game-winning goal.
- Speaking of iffy penalties, Colton Orr was given a major interference penalty with a game misconduct after he pasted Mark Eaton into the boards. However, while it was definitely interference, it appeared that Eaton had lost his edge, which caused his body to be lower.
- One of the higher shot totals of the year for Crosby with seven shots.
- The Pens were only credited with 5 giveaways, but it was much more than that.
- Gonchar led the Pens with 29:08 in icetime.
The Penguins’ homestand ends on Wednesday with a visit from Marty Brodeur and the Devils.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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