Assistant coach Rick Tocchet gives his three impressions from the bench of the Pens’ 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Rangers.
1. The first and the third (periods) were really good, in all facets of the game.
2. Fleury was outstanding. He’s been great all series for us. Some unlucky bounces.
3. There’s no moral victories. We lost the game. We played great, but we lost. We have to get our energy level back for the next game. That’s it. And believe that you can win.
Michelle Crechiolo gives her three impressions from the press box.
1. All the Pens have talked about for the last two days is how they needed to begin Game 4 the way they ended Game 3, and credit to them, they did exactly that. The Pens got out to the exact start they wanted. They found that same level of desperation they had in the third period on Monday night, with the Pens outworking and outbattling the Rangers and spending what felt like the entire frame in their zone – holding them to just two shots. The D-men were especially impressive with the way they protected the puck and stayed poised and patient under pressure to make clean breakouts and head down the other way. The only problem was that their dominance didn’t reflect on the scoresheet. While they did come out of it with a 1-0 lead, it could have been bigger – and looking back, there were a lot of missed opportunities to build more of a cushion that would have been incredibly helpful to have as the game tightened up over the final 40-plus minutes.
2. Those missed opportunities included two first-period power plays that the Pens couldn’t convert. The Pens needed that special team to come through like it did in Game 2, where the second unit produced a pair of goals in a 4-3 win. And it looked like it was going to break out again, as Pittsburgh was impressive during those two man-advantages. Their puck movement was incredible and they were creating both chances and momentum. On the second one, which came with just over two minutes left in the period, Evgeni Malkin was an absolute beast – especially when it came to holding the line. They did everything right except score what would have been a huge second goal.
3. For as well as the Pens played in a tight, competitive game in a tight, competitive series, at the end of the night they scored just one goal for the third time in four games. They have got to give Marc-Andre Fleury more support than that if they want to rip off three straight wins to win this series. They can’t ask for anything more from him – he’s doing his part. It’s up to the guys in front of him to start producing down at the other end. The one goal they did score was exactly how they drew it up – getting the puck to the net with traffic there. Ben Lovejoy wound up and took a perfect snapshot from the point with all three of his forwards in the slot, each marked by a white jersey – meaning there were six bodies screening Henrik Lundqvist, who couldn’t see the tip by Patric Hornqvist. The problem was that they couldn’t recreate that recipe for success the rest of the game.