Penguins 0 – Rangers 4
Madison Square Garden is the absolute last place the Penguins wanted to play Monday night to attempt to end a four game losing skid. Entering Monday night’s game, Henrik Lundqvist was 11-1-1 at MSG when facing the Penguins in the regular season. In an attempt to ignite a spark, Head Coach Michel Therrien shuffled the lines a bit, notably bringing up Tyler Kennedy to the first line while demoting the ice cold Miroslav Satan to the fourth line. Despite Therrien’s efforts, the Pens continued to struggle. So I’ll make this short and not-so-sweet.
It only took 31 seconds for the game to be over. If the Penguins had any objectives entering Monday’s game it would be to, A) score, preferably on the PP, and B) stay out of the penalty box. They would not do either. An early penalty to Max Talbot for boarding led to a power play goal by Nigel Dawes.
The Pens had a great chance of their own to answer back when Brooks Oprik took a high-stick in the face, and drew blood for a four-minute power play. The Pens caught another break when one minute into the PP, Sidney Crosby drew another penalty creating a full two minute 5-on-3 advantage. Only one minute into that PP Jordan Staal was called for a questionable interference penalty, ending the man advantage. A few glimpses of hope were not enough for the Penguins to score.
The second period supplied more quality chances for both teams, and it seemed the Pens would have a chance to tie the game before heading into the third. An interference penalty to Matt Cooke led to another PP chance for the Rangers. Only two seconds off the draw, Paul Mara riffled one past Marc-Andre Fleury for the two-goal Rangers lead.
The third period was no different from the first two. Close but no cigar. Twelve minutes into the third, the Rangers created a tic-tac-toe play from behind the net that gave Chris Drury his 11th goal of the season. Fleury and the Pens defense seem to find themselves lost when opposing teams make plays behind the net. It is clear that teams are noticing Fleury gives up a goal from plays behind the net almost every game for the past two weeks. This was just another case of déjà vu.
The Rangers defense held constant pressure on the Penguins throughout the third period, forcing them to make a play that usually was not there. This was something the Pens defense does not seem to attempt. Teams are entering the Penguins’ defensive zone much too easily without any defensive pressure. Just one thing on a list of many that the Penguins need to fix.
Therrien decided to pull goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury during a Pens power play with a little over three minutes left in the game, creating a 6-on-4 while down three goals. Many Pens fans probably questioned Therrien’s motives, but let’s be honest; this team will take anything to score a goal. Unfortunately, the decision proved costly as the Rangers scored a short-handed empty net goal. Rangers win 4-0.
The power play continued to struggle, going a measly 0-for-8, and now 0-for-32 in the last 7 games.
The Penguins have now scored one goal in their last 132 minutes.
Thankfully, this is the Pens’ last trip to New York this season.
It is amazing that Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby continue to top the list for points in the NHL. This team has not scored more than three goals in a game since December 22, and the dynamic duo have been held scoreless for most of those games. Imagine the lead Malkin could have in the point’s race if he and the rest of the team have been scoring.
Maybe Colt McCoy could help on the power play.
The Pens hope to rebound tomorrow night in a place they have not won in since December 11, 2008…..the Mellon Arena.
At least Pitt men’s basketball is #1.
Keep praying, and Let’s Go Pens.
Dan | PPT