Monday, May 5, 2014

Penguins ECSF Game 3 Recap - Penguins 2, Rangers 0

This was another shutout by the Penguins and it gives them a 2-1 series lead over the Rangers. This was far from the game that they played against New York last night in a really dominating win but sometimes you don't have to be your best to get a win. Marc-Andre Fleury came to play and stopped all 35 shots that were thrown in his way. For a guy that holds the team back he sure hasn't been holding the team back.

Fleury had to be really good tonight because the Penguins were doing a good job of being the Rangers from game two. The Rangers controlled play and possessed the puck a ton more than the Penguins did. Pittsburgh managed only 15 shots on the game. For the entire game. 15 shots. The Rangers had a corsi for percentage of nearly 60% which were levels that the Penguins were at last night. That is a good way for a team to win and luckily MAF was there to steal the show.

You know what else was pretty cool about tonight? Sidney Crosby scored a goal. Finally we can consider Crosby as a good hockey player because he scored a goal. He got a partial breakaway in the second period and went five-hole on Henrik Lundqvist and we can finally stop asking what is wrong with him and start giving him credit for playing good hockey, which he has done nearly the entire postseason. He was the only Penguin above 50% corsi for despite starting only 38% of his shifts in the offensive zone. He also won 12-of-21 face-offs so all-in-all he was one of the better players on the ice for the Penguins not named Marc-Andre Fleury.

Paul Martin. Man. This dude has been cash money in the playoffs. Coupled with Kris Letang we are seeing some spectacular hockey from that defensive pairing and they did it again tonight. Every single time there was a rush for the Rangers and those two were on the ice they were breaking up plays and turning the puck the other way. Martin has been nothing short of outstanding in separating the man from the puck and tonight was another surgical performance by him.

Jussi Jokinen has been really good. Now seven straight playoff games with a point. He came out of the penalty box after the Penguins killed off a penalty and got a breakaway on Lundqvist and put it in the back of the net. Lundqvist has been really good the last two games and getting the lead was huge again. I wasn't sure if they were going to be able to add on with how good he has been so the goal by Jokinen was just huge. Anything can happen in a game that is so close and with how good the goaltending has been a second goal is just massive. Jokinen has been one of the Penguins best forwards this series and he might be pricing himself out of Pittsburgh, if he hasn't already.

Want to know how bad it got at points for the Penguins tonight? Check out the even strength fenwick chart form the game:

That is not someone dying, that is just the Penguins literally letting Lundqvist fall asleep.

For as good as the Rangers played today they just couldn't get anything done. The Penguins only went to the power play one time on the night but the Rangers got five chances, including a four minute power play thanks to a James Neal high stick that drew blood. Calling the Rangers power play comically bad would be an understatement. They are really hard to watch and this is coming from a fan of a team playing against them. They look completely lost. I thought the Penguins power play was awful in the playoff series against Tampa Bay a few years ago but this makes that power play look good.

I don't really have much more. The Penguins won and now have a 2-1 series lead. Going into this game I thought that if the Penguins could split at MSG then they would be in good shape coming back to Pittsburgh. Now the Rangers look like they can't put the puck into the net and if the Penguins win on Wednesday then they can salt this series away. The wins don't always have to be pretty, and tonight's wasn't. MAF was great and they got a win. Good stuff.

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