The last shot on goal credited to the Rangers was at the 11:22 mark of the third period. In case you're not realizing the significance, the Rangers, despite being down by two goals, didn't register a shot on goal for the last EIGHT MINUTES of the game.
Simply incredible defensive job by the Pens. Nothing else needs to be said.
Unless you want to read the recap!
The Pens hired Simon and Garfunkel to play the Garden tonight, because just 1:02 into the game, all we heard were the Sounds of Silence. It was beautiful. The Pens scored when the Rangers turned the puck over at the Pens' blue line. They worked it in for a shot by Dupuis. Hossa took the rebound and BURIED it (credit to the guys at Pensblog for calling this one). 1-0 Pens.
The Rangers clearly had picked up the intensity and were creating all kinds of havoc in the offensive zone. Fleury was up to the challenge, stopping just about everything that was thrown at him.
Both teams missed wide open nets. Straka missed for the Rangers (his shot wasn't even close - he looked like he was shooting at Fleury, who was well wide of the crease) and Malkin missed for the Pens. Both guys should have scored, but I guess that evens out.
I say "just about" because they Rangers managed to get a goal on the board when Jagr was in the crease with two Pens defense. In the scrum, Fleury was unable to play the puck very well, and it bounced off of someone (probably Fleury) and into the net. 1-1 tie.
As soon as the goal was scored and play was stopped, the dancing partners lined up for a little Do-Si-Do around the net. Three dancers per side were sent to the drunk tank for two minutes each (Jagr, Dubinsky, Mara, Whitney, Letang and Malone in case you're wondering).
The fans were going nuts when the Rangers tied the game. They were trying to get behind their team and rally them. It failed miserably.
Sykora, Malkin and Laraque got the puck in deep and Big George went to the front of the net. He took a fortunate carom off of the skate of a Ranger (I think) on an attempted pass from Malkin and went top shelf over Lundqvist. The Pens were shooting high and this time it worked. 2-1 Pens.
About 90 seconds later, after Callahan took a double minor for high-sticking, the Pens struck on the power play. Malkin fired a puck from the point that was a low shot. Malone was camped in front of the net and timed his jump perfectly, allowing the puck to pass right underneath him. Probably not a good goal allowed by King Henry, but it was tough for him to see. 3-1 Pens.
My favorite part of the period were Emrick and Olczyk noting that the horn at the end of the period was going to be quite loud... because everyone else was pretty quiet.
The question was: could the Pens keep this up the whole game? The Rangers did look pretty good to this point, and the Pens were able to weather the storm so far.
Early in the second, the Pens decided to start the Penalty Parade. This involved almost five minutes of odd-man hockey, with two stints of being down by two men. Both of the five-on-three situations were for more than 30 seconds. The Pens killed all of them. That was HUGE.
The Rangers, however, were now dominating the game. The puck was following them wherever they went, and the Pens couldn't seem to get out of their own end.
This started some trouble when Ryan Callahan took a nice pass from Scotty Gomez and beat Flower. 3-2 Pens.
Just over one minute later, Jagr walked out from behind Fleury and beat him high to the far post. 3-3 tie.
Both goals were nice by the Rangers, and both were due to defensive breakdowns by the Pens.
The Rangers were working up another lather in the offensive zone when Ryan Hollweg took a really dumb boarding call against Petr Sykora. It was dumb because the Rangers had the momentum, and it was even more dumb because it was in the offensive zone.
The Pens played with fire on the ensuing power play. Time was ticking down on the two minute advantage and the original five were still on the ice. All I could think was that there was going to be a steal and with five tired bodies we were going to see a two-on-none or three-on-none going the other way.
Geno showed me there was no reason to worry. He took what seemed to be 37 slappers in a row from the right point. The very last one, with three seconds left in the penlaty, beat Lundqvist. 4-3 Pens.
The air was let out of the Rangers balloon. They had worked so hard to come back, only to lose the lead again on a bad penalty.
The third period was shaping up to be a real heart stopper.
The Pens got a goal early in the third. Gomez was kicked out of the faceoff circle. Malkin won the faceoff, allowing Sykora to push the puck back to Letang. Kris shot the puck towards the net and Ryan Malone expertly deflected it past Lundqvist. 5-3 Pens.
That goal seemed to take everything out of the Rangers. They managed 10 shots in the period and had two power play chances, but the Pens did their best Derek Bell imitation and went into Operation Shutdown.
The Rangers never seriously threatened in the third. It was a thing of beauty.
Rangers fans were filing for the exits as the Blueshirts pulled Lundqvist. They knew what they were doing (the fans, not the Rangers) as the Rangers didn't even register a shot.
Kind of an anti-climatic way to end the game, and not all all what I was expecting, given the second period. I'm not complaining, however. The Pens played a perfect third period on the road.
- You have to think the Rangers are mush after this game. They did everything they possibly could. Jagr and Gomez were flying. None of it mattered.
- Lundqvist picked a bad time to have a bad game. I know most of them weren't his fault, but anytime you allow 5 goals on 17 shots, there's a problem with the goalie.
- Two goals by Geno. Maybe that's his way of saying he deserves the Hart Trophy?
- Can the Pens finish them off on Thursday? I sure hope so - I'm supposed to go on a quick vacation this weekend!
- Assuming we don't get to Game 6, this was the last FSN broadcast of the year.