Yesterday the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers had their second face off for this season; the Penguins beat the Rangers back on March 16th at the Consol Energy Center in a 3-0 shut out. In the beginning of the first the Penguins had great shot potential and puck turn over. The Penguins took two shots on goal during their first power play and the Rangers had two shots on goal during the first half but the score remained 0-0. Last night the Penguins played without Crosby who is out with a broken jaw also out are Mark Eaton and Paul Martin. The Rangers played with a fury in the first period as they continue to pushed for a spot in the play offs. The Rangers dealt it hard into the back of the Penguins net during their power play, putting them on the board, leading the game 1-0. The Rangers registers another goal on the Penguins claiming a 2-0 lead and they continued to push for a 3rd goal which comes with 5 minutes left in the first period, 3-0 Rangers lead. The Rangers had a great fore-checking game during the first period and dominated the boards.
Early in the second period, the Penguins still had not shown up to this game as the Rangers back hand another puck into the net as they future their lead 4-0. The Penguins quickly respond with a goal, closing the gap 4-1, Dupuis banks his 18th goal of the season and the only goal of this game. The Penguins had some solid opportunities but could not cash in on any shots against the Rangers during the second period. The Penguins are now just getting adjusted to playing without Crosby and Martin, as these injuries have happened recently. The Penguins needed to skate with some force and push to the other end of the ice if they wanted to bridge the gap that the Rangers had created on the score board. The Rangers swept another shot into the net, dominating this game 5-1 as the Rangers reclaimed their four goal lead. Late in the second period the Penguins began to push back, taking puck possession and making opportunities but in the end the score stood 5-1, with the Rangers leading as the buzzer sounded.
Headed into the 3rd period the Rangers are in control and they continued to stay strong, driving a 6th goal into the net and securing this game at 6-1. Marc-Andre Fleury finished out the game in the net for the Penguins as the Rangers presented an excellent game. Late into the 3rd, the tension between these teams were high and it carry over into their rematch on Friday, when they meet on Penguins home ice.
Rangers had the speed and skill to dominate the ice last night, as they reclaimed the boost that they were in need of this season as play offs approach. The Penguins streak ended in succession with Crosby’s injury and the addition of 4 new players. The higher the Penguins climbed this season, the harder they had to fall. The Penguins seemed to be taking quite a fall as they loss their second game in a row after their 15 game winning streak. Is this just a blip in their season or will this continue for the Penguins? The difference between the Penguins team we saw last night and the team that was on a winning streak just last week are: they are dealing with a major loss of their Team Captain Sidney Crosby and are also getting used to playing without Martin Eaton and Paul Martin, who are also out. The Penguins have a chance to redeem themselves Friday when they will rematch the New York Rangers at the Consol Energy Center. As this rematch is brought to home ice for the Penguins, a location where less than a month ago they were able to shut out the Rangers 3-0, this home stand might be just what the Penguins need to get back on their game.