Typical Penguins vs. Rangers games of the past few years feature low scoring, highly competitive games that usually see NYR jump out to an early lead, and then pack it in and hold on for dear life, hoping the very capable Henrik Lundqvist can bring them on home. And, it's been effective, with New York going 11-1-1 tonight in the last 13 (playoffs included) against the Pens.
There wouldn't be an early goal tonight, but the Rangers would take the first lead as they have so many times before...Then Crosby and Malkin woke up and chased Lundqvist.
Not a goal but look at this epic meltdown by pissbaby of the year Henrik Lundqvist who felt it appropriate to do this in the course of actual gameplay.
You mad bro? pic.twitter.com/SzGIETehB5— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 4, 2016
Remember this the next time some herb Rangers fan tries to tell you that Sidney Crosby is the one who tantrums.
Lundqvist was apparently upset after feeling entitled to a whistle after being bowled over (100% by his own defenseman). The ref didn't give him the whistle so he lost his cool and did that. He would lose the game later in the period.
Finally, late in the second after a penalty expired, Chris Kreider shoots short-side on Marc-Andre Fleury and it somehow finds a hole and gets in to break the score and make it 1-0 Rangers.
Another angle of the Kreider goal #NYR pic.twitter.com/lDh2LcEmCe— Dave Shapiro (@BlueSeatBlogs) March 4, 2016
The Pens would strike back quickly with Crosby jumping into the zone, shooting on Lundqvist, and follows up his own rebound to knock it over the goal line.
lol Rangers https://t.co/zrrBdhqVjL— Chad....... (@MadChad412) March 4, 2016
Not wanting to be left out, Evgeni Malkin danced around the offensive zone, passed back to Trevor Daley who took a point shot. The Rangers, as they're so good at, blocked the initial shot, but luckily the puck bounced out all alone to Malkin who quickly snapped it by a helpless Lundqvist.
Geno Machino! Full replay: https://t.co/Py9XzRlCdg pic.twitter.com/rB3KY7bf6W— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 4, 2016
Soon after the Pens would make it 3-1 when Patric Hornqvist would tip in a Phil Kessel shot/pass on the power play.
Hornqvist redirects one past Lundqvist. As if he wasn't angry enough already... Replay: https://t.co/Zd8SXjCyke pic.twitter.com/W0XKDTPV5T— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 4, 2016
Gene, Gene the generous machine gives one up for Kessel to score on the empty net to finish the game off at 4-1.
Phil Kessel scores on the empty net to put the #Pens up 4-1. Join our #GIFparty: https://t.co/qLOVAX1wMp pic.twitter.com/ezmn9YKORV— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 4, 2016
- The Pens had luck/good strategy early in the game to get 2 shifts of the Malkin line up against the Rangers 4th line (aka the Tanner Glass one). It resulted in offensive pressure and Dominic Moore taking a penalty. In fact it even looked that maybe NYR was comfortable with that; bold strategy, Cotton, let's see how it works out for them.
- Kevin Porter got hurt in the first period and immediately went to the locker-room and wouldn't return. We'll see if it's serious, but certainly did not look very good as he went into the boards legs first and wouldn't return.
- Porter's absence necessitated a mish-mash of the lines for the rest of the game, but that seemed to be somewhat of an advantage to mix up the wingers for Sid and Geno, with both ES goals in the 2nd period coming off an impromptu line.
- No goals in so long and then 3 total goals in 1:18 late in the 2nd. What a game hockey can be.
- Nice play on his goal by Kreider to recover on a pass from Mats Zucarello that was behind him. Proves the old adage "can't give a good player a bad pass". Kreider's shot also looked like it clipped the stick of Daley but that thing was zooming and still beat Fleury from a not great angle.
- The Rangers, as usual, did well to always have 2 defensemen back early in the game...The Pens surrendered a couple of 2-on-1's against (one defended really nicely by Brian Dumoulin).
- Observation: Kessel looks a lot more authoritative recently on the power play.
- Up 3-1, the Pens only gave up 1 shot on goal in the first 12 minutes of the 3rd period. They were in their own end a lot of that time, but it was good to see not much in the way of shots/chances against.
- Penguins remain the only team in the league to be undefeated when leading after 2 periods this season, now up to 26-0-0.
- Eric Staal was pretty quiet in his Ranger-debut-against-the-Pens. Reminder: E. Staal hasn't seen playoffs since the Pens Geno bounced him in 2009.
- Speaking of Staals, Pittsburgh might have gotten a little lucky that Marc Staal was out with a flu bug that's been making the rounds through the NYR dressing room. No one was even around to cross-check Crosby in the back of the head, what a world!
- We'll see what happens when Justin Schultz gets into games. And he's joined the team and will be in games too. The natural choice would be to scratch Ian Cole again, but he's been pretty solid since he's gotten back in the games - especially tonight with a big hit along the boards on Viktor Stalberg. Made more impressive considering the long layoff Cole went through. It's a bit of a champagne problem to chose 6 spots for 7 defensemen, especially considering that this time last season the Pens only had 5 healthy defensemen and had no space to call up the 6th.
Big win for the Pens to get past Lundqvist (lol) and the Rangers. It looks like the Fly-boys are on their way to another loss, so the Pens lead on the last playoff spot is up to 5 points. And depending on how the NYI game goes, we're better off looking up to the NY teams in 2nd and 3rd place in the division anyways.