Young Pens Win Sixth Playoff Game In A Row
Recapping Pittsburgh's Game #1 & 2 wins over the Rangers
Game 1 – Pittsburgh Penguins 5 – New York Rangers 4
Never give up. A great philosophy that the Penguins followed once they were down 3-0, four minutes into the 2nd period. Martin Straka, Chris Drury and the pesky Sean Avery all scored for the Rangers, taking the crowd out of this game early.
Being 3 goals up against the Pens’ is not as safe as it sounds. The Pittsburgh pest, Jarkko Ruutu, scored at the 8:13 mark followed by Pascal Dupuis finishing a pass from Sidney Crosby just 14 seconds later. In the blink of an eye the Pens’ were only down just 1 goal after two periods of play.
The beginning of the 3rd period really showed which team wanted this game more. Marian Hossa and Petr Sykora each scored 20 seconds apart, 5 minutes into the period, giving the lead to the Pens’ and completing the comeback. The experienced Rangers did keep focus in the game and kept working hard, which resulted in Scott Gomez goal to tie the game at the halfway point on the 3rd as it seemed this one may see extra frames.
The referees were letting the play go in the third, calling no penalties, and thus keeping an entertaining flow to the final minutes. But with less than four minutes left in the game though, they did call Martin Straka for a weak interference penalty. The New York bench was very sour at this call, allowing the young Pens’ team a man advantage to basically win the game.
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Crosby made an incredible pass to let Evgeni Malkin score the game winner at the 18:19 mark of the final frame, leaving the Rangers with little time for an equalizer. New York blew an early 3-0 lead and basically gave Pittsburgh game #1.
Addressing the key factors in this series as stated in our Eastern Conference Semifinals preview:
Both goalies made nice saves at valuable times, but neither goalie was outstanding in this game. Since Henrik Lundqvist’s save percentage was a pitiful .808, he lost it for the Rangers, giving Pittsburgh the win.
Shanahan/Avery got one goal and three shots. Malone/Sykora got one goal, two assists and 7 shots. Fairly obvious.
The young guns came out to play. Experience took an early lead, but the youth never put their heads down.
Game 2 – Pittsburgh Penguins 2 – New York Rangers 0
Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his second shutout of the playoffs, to lead Pittsburgh to a 2-0 win in the game, and a 2-0 lead in the series. The Pens’ have always showed the power to score, but in game #2, they also showed that they can hold on to a 1-0 lead with strong defense. This team is growing on both sides of the puck and they remain undefeated in this year's playoffs.
Pittsburgh played mature, composed and compassionate during this game. They out-shot the Rangers by 8, and Jordan Staal scores on the power play at the 13:55 point of the second period, which proved to be the game-winner. The Pens were relentless in protecting the lead by playing simple hockey. Fleury did play great, but it was the clearing of the puck that helped Pittsburgh win this game. Adam Hall added the empty-netter at the end to, on which he claimed that he just wanted to get the puck out of the zone.
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The Rangers went 0-6 on the power play including failing to score in the 3rd period on two those opportunities. Ryan Callahan led New York with 5 shots on net with Jaromir Jagr, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez only combining for 7 shots total. This has to change for Rangers to get back in this series. Lundqvist played a top-notch game; he just did not have the goal support in this game.
Pittsburgh continues to be unbeaten in the playoffs, playing hockey that is second to none. If they can steal one game in New York, this series may be over in five games.
The key factors in this series as stated in our Eastern Conference Semifinals preview:
Both goalies had stellar games. Even though Lundqvist only allowed one goal, Fleury made 26 saves to get the shutout.
Avery was not a factor at all, with his zero shots, points and even penalty minutes. Shanahan ended off the score sheet as well, with three shots. Malone/Sykora were not much better, but provided much more intensity in this game.
The youth of the Pens’ held a one goal lead for almost two periods. That is impressive.
Pittsburgh leads series 2-0.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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