Michelle Crechiolo gives her three impressions from the press box of the Penguins' 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers.
1. EVEN GAME
The score doesn’t reflect how even the game was. Honestly, this was one of the better games I’ve seen the Pens play as of late. They had a number of quality chances, but weren’t able to convert them. Henrik Lundqvist was there to make the big saves and when he didn’t, he got help from his posts. On both of their power plays, the Pens had the zone the entire time and moved the puck around. They just, as head coach Mike Sullivan put it, didn’t quite execute the way they have been while the Rangers were just more opportunistic. “They had maybe five, six chances in the whole game and they scored on two of them,” Kris Letang added. "We were playing well. We had the puck. We were shooting the puck. We outchanced them. We outshot them. So I think it’s just a question of finishing."
2. CLAMPING DOWN
I was talking to Olli Maatta this morning about the Rangers, and he said the one of the biggest reasons they’ve had such success against the Pens over the past couple of seasons is they defend as a five-man unit and are incredibly structured. While the Pens were able to break through that at times, the Rangers definitely buckled down once they went ahead. They did a tremendous job of blocking shots, collapsing in front of their net and clearing out second and third opportunities. "They’re a team that retreats when they get the lead and they jam the front of the net so it’s hard to score goals," Letang said. "They block shots. Their goalie is an outstanding goalie."
3. YOUNG GUYS
A couple of the young guys stood out in this game. After scoring a big goal in Monday’s 6-2 win over Anaheim, Conor Sheary was again noticeable with his speed. He made a fantastic play in the first period when he managed to split a pair of Rangers defensemen, skate in on Lundqvist, deke to his backhand and ring a shot off the crossbar. He also forced a few turnovers on the forecheck. Bryan Rust had a terrific game as well, as he was making plays using his speed as well. His biggest chance was a 2-on-1 rush with Tom Kuhnhackl in the second.