Rick Tocchet gives his three impressions from the Penguins’ 4-3 win over the New York Rangers in Game 2.
1. First of all, the special teams. The power play and the penalty kill. The power play was big getting two power play goals for us – the second unit, a great job by them – and then the penalty kill. I mean, they were killing penalty after penalty after penalty, so a lot of credit to them.
2. For me, the captain, the leader, Sidney Crosby, two goals. Came even-keeled, played a 200-foot game. Really proud of him.
3. I’ve got to give the defense a lot of credit. Everybody contributed. (Brian) Dumoulin, a young kid, comes in and I thought he played great. (Taylor) Chorney played great. Obviously so did the old guards, ‘Marty’ (Paul Martin) and ‘Scuds’ (Rob Scuderi), ‘Coler’ (Ian Cole) and (Ben) Lovejoy. So I really was impressed by our defense.
Michelle Crechiolo gives her three impressions from the media level.
1. After the Pens lost Game 1, head coach Mike Johnston made adjustments to his forward lines heading into Game 2 and reunited Chris Kunitz with Sidney Crosby. That move paid off, as both players came up with inspired performances and sparked the Pens’ struggling offense, scoring three of the Pens’ four goals in the game. I can’t say enough about Crosby’s effort in particular, as he stepped up and led his team when they needed it most. Though the Pens surrendered the first goal, nobody panicked and that started with him. The team kept plugging away and after Brandon Sutter (who also had a heck of a game) evened it up in the second period, Crosby came up with a pair of incredibly huge tallies in a span of nearly 4 minutes to give his team a two-goal cushion heading into the third. That’s exactly the kind of display the Pens want and need from their captain in such an important game.
2. The Pens once again didn’t make it easy on themselves, as they had trouble staying disciplined. After taking five penalties in Game 1 and talking afterward about how they needed to be much more composed in Game 2, the Pens turned around and gave the Rangers seven power plays tonight – with two of those coming after the Pens had built themselves a lead and were trying to hold onto it. However, the positive is that Marc-Andre Fleury and the PKers in front of him were tremendous and managed to kill off six of those to keep their team in this game. It’s way too much to ask of them, but they rose to the occasion. Eventually the frustrated Rangers began having discipline issues of their own as they took three penalties in the third period and the Pens converted one of those for a huge insurance marker, finishing 2-for-4 on the night.
3. While the Pens weren’t able to be as disciplined as they’d hoped, they did have a much better start in this game compared to Thursday’s. That night they dug themselves into a 2-0 hole after the first 20 minutes after they came out much too tentative. Crosby said that happens sometimes in the first game of a series when you’re trying to feel your way through it, but as he said afterward, “that’s got to be gone.” And it was, as the Pens came out with so much intensity from the beginning. They were skating, moving and dictating the play and were all over the Rangers.