Rangers 4 Pens 3
Goals: Neal (14) (PP) from Crosby, Martin
Malkin (9) from Neal, Sullivan
Dupuis (7) from Crosby, Engelland
1) Matt Niskanen. Playing 22:31, which I suspect is a career high, Niskanen shifted his game to act more as a stay at home defenseman and he did well with it. He was very strong on the crease in front of Fleury, which is not a spot he usually has, and he stayed in position throughout the game. His shots suffered because of it, only taking 1, but his play on defense was very strong as he deflected passes and made sure no one got the puck in front of Fleury when he was on.
2) Alexandre Picard. After arriving at the arena less than an hour before game time, Picard put together a very strong game in the absence of Letang and Michalek. I thought Picard played great during his previous call up, and he continued his strong play with 3 blocked shots and good puck movement on the powerplay when he was on. He was very dependable with Bortuzzo on the other side, not missing a beat in his call-up.
3) Joe Vitale. Though Vitale only played 9 shifts for 6:58, he made this list for his fantastic shift in the 1st period where he was on Lundqvist’s crease and causing complete chaos. He drew penalties out of Lundqvist and Emminger, has he battled them both without a helmet trying to screen Lundqvist. It’s the exact type of play you want out of your 4th liners. I was rather baffled as to why he didn’t get more shifts later on when it was clear he was having an energy night.
1) Brooks Orpik. Two penalties, including an incredibly stupid one with the Pens killing a 5 on 3 powerplay for the Rangers, bought Orpik this spot. His hitting was strong, but he was a tad overzealous at times. He also was beat by Rangers players to the crease a few times, which is what frequently led to his hitting since he was out of position. Just a matter of Brooks trying to do too much tonight I think.
2) Chris Kunitz. Kunitz had a downright awful 3rd period, not being able to control the puck and taking a stupid (albeit questionable) boarding penalty late in the 3rd period. As the Penguins pushed towards tying the game, his performance fell apart. He turned it over at his own blue line, the Rangers blue line, and couldn’t seem to get anything going tonight.
3) Deryk Engelland. There was a big increase in Engelland’s offensive game, as he assisted on a goal and he attempted 5 shots, but his defense suffered tonight. He was beat cleanly by a couple of Rangers, fanned on the puck in his own zone a couple of times, and took a penalty on Gaborik when he skated right past him. Both him and Orpik appeared to just have their feet a little too set against the Rangers quick forwards tonight.
|Maybe not optimal defensive positioning|
- Brian Strait (elbow) is day to day
- Ben Lovejoy (wrist) will be out for at least 5 more weeks
- Dustin Jeffrey is on the IR as he rehabs his knee
- Steve MacIntyre was placed on the IR for a lingering upper body injury
- Kris Letang sat out the game after breaking his nose against Montreal. He will return to Pittsburgh for precautionary evaluation
- Zbynek Michalek sat out tonight’s game, and his heading back to Pittsburgh for precautionary evaluation
- The Pens called up Picard and Bortuzzo to step in for the injured Dmen
- D pairings were: Engelland/Martin, Orpik/Niskanen, Picard/Bortuzzo
- Martin took Letang’s spot on the powerplay
- 1st period PPs: 3-0 Pens. After: 6-1 Rangers. Interesting when Tortorella had a conversation with the refs going into the 2nd and one of them replied “there are still 40 minutes left”
- The Pens lost the faceoff battle 17 to 40, with no one having a winning faceoff record
- First game this season that Fleury has allowed more than 3 goals…I know the game wasn’t all on him, but I still question when Brent Johnson will spell him, it’s been a while.
|Rough night for Flower, with 2 PP goals against not helping.|
- Is this team allergic to being healthy? Are they all hypochondriacs?
- I’d much rather see Niskanen on the top powerplay than Martin. He gets a lot more shots on net in general
- Paul Martin pinches way too much for a guy who doesn’t put the puck in the net
- The penalties in the 3rd were quite one sided, but the Pens have to know better than to put themselves in those situations
1) Coach’s Influence. The Penguins deserved most of the penalties they took in the game, but it was very suspicious that Tortorella talked to the ref before the 2nd period and the penalties magically shifted from 3-0 Pens in the 1st to 6-1 Rangers in the 2nd and 3rd. The only questionable penalty was really Kunitz’s with 3 minutes left, but I find it hard to believe that the Rangers didn’t do anything as small as Engelland’s little slash on the hands that got him a penalty. It was quite unprofessional for the ref to have a give and take with Torts before the period started.
2) Late Injuries. Michalek and Letang were late scratches today after taking the game day skate. As such, Picard and Bortuzzo showed up at MSG at around 6:40, and both played very admirably for their late arrival. The Penguins really do have a lot of depth on defense that goes unappreciated. However, that depth certainly isn’t strong enough to keep the PK % as high as it is, nor will it add the potential offense that Letang does. Expect Fleury’s #’s to drop if both defensemen miss some time.
3) Deserved Playing Time. I can’t comprehend why Vitale didn’t get more ice time than 6:58 tonight. He was a spark plug for the team and clearly getting under the Rangers’ skin in the 1st period. I can’t help but wonder if he would have drawn more ire from the Rangers as the game went on if he was on the powerplay or even just on the ice more. For that matter, Picard also deserved more playing time for his efforts, though that one makes more sense since he was called up hours ago.
Pens Record: 14-7-4, 32 pts.
Goals For: 80
Goals Against: 63
PP %: 19% (20 for 105)
PK %: 90% (77 for 86)
Next Game: 12/1 @ Was, 7pm LET’S GO PENS!!!