The Pens just didn't have it tonight, and no one seemed to be willing to do anything to turn the tide.
This doesn't bode well for the upcoming divisional games. The Pens will need to get the ship righted and do it quickly or they could find themselves with a difficult seeding in the playoffs.
Errey informed us that Malkin, Malone and Sykora are the "Steel City" line. The rationale is that Malone is from Pittsburgh, while Geno and Sykora played in Magnitogorsk. It's not a label like the KLS line was, but I haven't heard anything better...
Things started off pretty slowly. Everyone looks like they're in quicksand.
Conk made a great save on Sean Avery on a puck that bounced over his stick. Avery missed an open cage.
Hossa and Dupuis nearly gave the Pens the lead with a great give and go play. They just missed the tap-in, but Dupuis drew a penalty.
The Pens did just about nothing on their power play.
Shortly after that, Jagr swooped into the zone, drawing extra attention from Tyler Kennedy. He got the puck to Avery, wide open in the slot. He put it over the glove hand of Conklin to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
Just 40 seconds later, a big Conklin rebound turned a harmless shot into a great scoring chance. It was buried by Ryan Callahan. 2-0 Rangers.
For the remainder of the period, the Pens had a few random scoring chances, but the Rangers controlled the play. They out worked and out shot the Pens. Not good for a road game. The Pens looked tired and slow.
Early in the second period, the Rangers made the worst line change in history, even worse than the Pens many miscues in the line change department. Ruutu walks in all alone (okay, he wasn't completely alone - Talbot and Kennedy were the nearest players) and buried the breakaway chance.
Just a little while later, the Rangers misplayed the puck beneath their own goal line. Dupuis corralled the puck and got it to Staal who was swooping in on Lundqvist. Jordan didn't make the first shot, but he banged home the rebound to tie the game.
44 seconds after that, Ryan Whitney tried to exit his zone up the middle and handed it right to Sjostrom who beat Conklin. Whitney and Sydor were on the ice for all three goals against to this point.
With the Rangers holding the lead, the Pens started to get some traffic around Lundqvist. They didn't make anything come of it right away, but they certainly seemed to get the Rangers agitated.
To this point, I can think of at least three hits from behind by the Rangers, including one during the four on four on Talbot.
In the same sequence as Talbot getting hit from behind (with no call), Dupuis gets a little too excited with the stick and gets called for a hook. The Rangers very nearly score on the power play, but a great play by Orpik kept the puck out. He shoved the puck between the legs of Conk (and away from the goal line). Save of the game to this point.
The Pens had another breakout pass up the middle picked off. I don't know if the Rangers were expecting the play, but the Pens need to take it out of the playbook. Exit the zone up the side before you cost your team another goal.
Malone had a mini-breakaway stopped by Lundqvist. He tried the same move as Ruutu but couldn't lift the puck as much on his backhand. Lundqvist was able to get part of his glove on it.
The zebras made a really dumb tripping call on Staal, putting the Rangers back on the power play.
On the ensuing power play, Malkin was blatantly hooked with no call. Stupid zebras...
But the Rangers couldn't do anything with their power play. The Pens turned things around during the second period. They needed to carry that momentum into the third.
Things were still a bit slow and sloppy early in the third. There were a few more non-calls that probably should have been penalties. The zebras seemed to put away the whistles.
Another turnover in the Penguins zone lead to another goal for Sean Avery. He's cemented his spot as a official Penguins Killer, joining the likes of Mats Sundin, Olli Jokkinen and Jason Blake to name a few.
The Rangers kept the puck in the Pens zone which culminated in Straka redirecting a puck past Conklin. 5-2 Rangers.
That was about it. Blech.