Let's play read between the lines with new New York Rangers coach John Torture-ella.
"I guess the thing that's frustrating is two teams with the type of (playoff) position we're in this time of year, I just hope that we allow the teams to make the difference, to determine the results. I'll leave it at that."
As you can tell he's clearly taking a shot at the refs; and the Blueshirts were whistled for 12 penalties and 41 total minutes....10 of those were fighting majors and the other huge chunk was a rare five minute major for high-sticking and 10 minute game misconduct for Colton Orr. I hope Tortorella made his comment before seeing a replay, as Orr definitely charged in on Mark Eaton (who didn't have the puck) and levelled him in a defenseless position into the boards. The high-stick call may have been the most questionable part; I thought it could have been charging, boarding, roughing, pick your poison. If someone like Chris Drury hit Eaton, they probably don't get the misconduct--but for a neanderthal enforcer like Orr, that's just the refs taking charge of the game and not letting things get out of control.
Of the other seven minor penalties: two happened in garbage times when Rangers had to take down Penguins from scoring in an empty net otherwise NYR took interference, hooking and tripping penalties...You know who else took those same calls? The Penguins. It seemed to me that the refs were consistent in calling a tight game--if a team got speed and caused their opponent to hook or interfere it was getting called no matter the color of the jersey.
- Breakout game for a guy who needed it; Ruslan Fedotenko. 1 goal, 2 assists in just 10:29 of ice-time, all of it on even strength.
- Production wise Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are always going to get theirs and put up numbers.. The last couple of weeks it was Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin stepping it up. Along with Feds today, Superstar Max Talbot notched a goal and an assist and Matt Cooke started the scoring. Maybe next week it'll be guys like Jordan Staal, Petr Sykora and Tyler Kennedy pitching in. The more even the contributions, the easier it'll be.
- The 0 for 8 power-play needs to be addressed. For all the pieces the Penguins have; a Crosby, a Malkin, a Sergei Gonchar, it doesn't seem like anyone is running the show. It seems like they all defer to one another and no one quite knows what the "go to" shot is that they're looking to get. With so much talent, don't freak out, it'll be there in time. Despite how it may look at times they really are not trying not to score.
- I bet Marc-Andre Fleury would like that second goal back on the wraparound. But other than that, I thought he did his part hanging tough and making some saves to keep his team in there.
- Rob Scuderi is probably the most offensive-defensive-defenseman in the game. Confused? Follow me; last game he made a poke check that turned into the play going the other way and a goal for the Pens, earning Scuderi an assist. Today Scuderi clears a trickling puck from almost the goal line and Fedotenko ended up making that the primary assist. The lesson to take out of all of this? Sometimes assists are more just passes.
So that closes the books on the month of March for the Penguins. And it as an impressive march of 10 wins, 1 regulation loss and 2 shootout losses. But, as we know, it's not how you do in March, it's what happens in April, May and June to make a successful season. Still, nice to see the Pens likely catapult themselves into post-season with a solid effort in March.