Maybe the intense playoff schedule is catching up to the New York Rangers, and it isn’t going to get any easier. Playing their 4th game in 6 days they could only manage 22 shots on Marc-Andre Fleury, who turned them all aside in the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 win.
Pittsburgh got on the board just past the midway point of the game, but it was actually Dan Girardi who was diving back to intercept a pass from Kris Letang to Chris Kunitz that knocked the puck past Henrik Lundqvist. Letang got credit for the goal that would turn out to be the game winner.
Jussi Jokinen pounced on the rebound off a James Neal shot for a power play goal to put the Pens up 2-0 with 3 and a half minutes left in the third and Evgeni Malkin sealed it with a last minute empty netter to salvage a split on home ice.
The Rangers were really their own worst enemy, as they had 3 power plays in the first 10 minutes of the game and were unable to capitalize, and were even outshot 9-7 in that first period.
The physical play of the Pittsburgh Penguins might be wearing down the Rangers, as they didn’t have much push back in the third, managing just 5 shots on Fleury, who wasn’t pretty but made the save he had to make in the Penguins crease.
James Neal was particularly rambunctious, taking the body at every opportunity but was only credited with 2 hits although it seemed like many more.
Sidney Crosby was held scoreless again, making 13 straight games without a goal in the playoffs. He was much better this game, however, and led all players with 6 shots on goal (tied with the Rangers’ Brad Richards.
Overshadowed by Crosby’s struggles to light the lamp is the nearly identical problems Rick Nash has had in doing the same. Nash has no goals in his last 12 playoff games and just 1 in his last 21. For such a big and talented player Nash is playing a perimeter game and needs to get to a power game if the Rangers are going to overcome the tough schedule and stay in the series.
The series switches to Madison Square Garden for the second half of the back to back and the Rangers’ 5th game in 7 nights on Monday.