The Pens were just a little bit off. It will be interesting to see how they respond on Sunday. Will they tighten up, or will they keep the loose, determined style they've had so far? This is the first time they've faced adversity during the playoffs.
The period was a good representation of the series. It was a dump and chase game with a few penalties and a few breakdowns in the defensive end. Both goalies were good, covering up for the blunders of their teammates.
The action was kind of stilted. Both teams tried getting the puck deep, but neither one was able to get much of a cycling game going. There were the aforementioned penalties to break things up, two on the Rangers and one on the Pens.
Both teams had some scoring chances, but overall, there wasn't much else to it.
During the second, the Pens weren't getting the puck in deep and the Rangers were starting to take advantage.
Jagr beat Fleury with a wicked wrist shot. He was then plastered by Brooks Orpik. He lay on the ice dazed for a few moments. Unfortunately, no one took the opportunity to skate over to Jags and yell at him to quit falling down and get up and skate. 1-0 Rangers.
The Pens had several golden chances. Malkin had three of them, including a breakaway where he was awarded a penalty shot.
My favorite part of the breakaway was when the defensemen (Girardi?) shoved Malkin from behind, sending Geno straight into Lundqvist. Girardi then acted like he didn't do anything, when the replay was pretty clear on exactly what he did.
Geno couldn't do anything with his penalty shot. He slowed down and just tried a simple quick wrist shot. Not sure what he was trying there, but you had the feeling the bounces weren't going the Penguins' way.
Malone also missed on a breakaway chance (short-handed).
The Rangers were the beneficiaries of three penalty calls during the period. You kind of expected things to magically even out going to the third, assuming the Pens could kill off the remainder of the third penalty they took.
Versus sucked, by the way, in the second:
- Ruutu took a penalty and we had NO IDEA what he did, because they never showed it.
- On the Malkin breakaway, they didn't slow down the replay to see when the puck went into the net until the review was over.
The Rangers cashed in on the power play early in the period. Dubinsky took a puck in front of Fleury and did a spinning backhand shot that beat Flower the far post. 2-0 Rangers.
The Pens would make some noise for the remainder of the period, but nothing consistent. They had one huge golden chance when Sykora fluttered a shot over Lundqvist and off of the crossbar. The puck landed and Staal missed a WIDE open net. That pretty much took the air out of the balloon.
What impressed me the most was the chippiness that was shown by Sid and Geno. Hossa took a good open ice hit from Girardi with about six minutes remaining. Crosby and Malkin immediately went right after Girardi. Both of them drew roughing penalties. That may be the only time we ever see both Crosby and Malkin draw a roughing penalty at the same time. It was almost comical to see them both in the penalty box, except that they were ticked.
The Rangers added an empty net goal and Malkin added several attempts to kill Paul Mara. That led to another fracas with both Malkin and Mara getting a misconduct penalty to get them out of the game.
Something certainly lit a fire under both Crosby and Malkin. That's good to see - I think it bodes well for Sunday.
Next up: Huge Game 5 on Sunday at the Igloo.