It is never easy to go into Madison Square Garden to play a hockey game and it doesn’t make it any easier when the Rangers are a good hockey club and playing great hockey. The Penguins fell behind early 4-1 and battled back but couldn’t tie the game and dropped the first of six contests with the Rangers, 4-3.
The Penguins didn’t play a particularly well in the middle and latter stages of the game and gave up all four goals in the second period which included a pair of power play goals. The defense was pretty bad all night but I guess you can expect that when you need two AHL call ups in order to fill in for the team’s top two defensive weapons. Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek were both scratched before the game so that made it hard and it was noticeable as the defensive unit.
The Rangers scored all four goals in about a 10 minute span and things went from great to terrible in about 10 minutes. The Penguins owned the play for the first period and most of the second period and it really felt like they were up by two or three but they could only muster a goal and got caught playing some bad hockey and the Rangers capitalized like a good team does.
Bing picked up two more assists as the New York media and fans trolled him hardcore after the game. I don’t even care about that stuff anymore. The Rangers and their fans would kill to have Sidney Crosby on their team so it is really just a bunch of jealousy talking. James Neal scored the opening goal for the Penguins for his 14th of the season on the power play. Sid gave him a nice feed and he buried it.
Evgeni Malkin made this game very interesting as he scored with six seconds left in the second period to make the score 4-2 and then Pascal Dupuis found the back of the net for the seventh time this year off a Crosby feed just three and a half minutes into the third.
The Penguins had another goal whipped off the board tonight and it came with a few minutes left in the second period and the Penguins down 3-1. Matt Cooke batted the puck out of the air with a high stick it then hit Henrik Lundqvist and went off Michael Sauer into the net. It was immediately called no goal but it went to review and I thought for sure it was going to be a goal. It was ruled no goal and it was pretty confusing to figure out why. At first it seemed as if the War Room dropped the ball but turns out they were right. The rule number is 80.3 which is as follows:
80.3 Disallowed Goal – When an attacking player causes the puck to enter the opponent’s goal by contacting the puck above the height of the crossbar, either directly or deflected off any player or official, the goal shall not be allowed. The determining factor is where the puck makes contact with the stick. If the puck makes contact with the stick below the level of the crossbar and enters the goal, this goal shall be allowed.
A goal scored as a result of a defending player striking the puck with his stick carried above the height of the crossbar of the goal frame into his own goal shall be allowed.
Not much more to say. Good call but it sucks because the Rangers scored the fourth goal just about a minute later on the power play. The Penguins have to lead the league in disallowed goals.
The other terrible part of the night was the Penguins taking penalties. The Rangers had six power play opportunities on the day and the Pens paid for it twice. When the Penguins were only down one goal they took some horrible penalties at the end of the game. In the last seven and a half minutes of the game they took four penalties and left themselves only 50 seconds to try and tie the game up after they were done killing off two separate 5-on-3’s. Just can’t do that when you are down a goal. Although the PK did a great job you just can’t be doing that and must be smarter.
The Penguins will be back at it on Thursday when they travel to Washington.