The New York Rangers needed a big game last night, but the Pittsburgh Penguins did not let that happen. The Rangers basically no-showed and are now trailing in the second round of the NHL Playoffs 3-1.
“It was a combination of them being real good and us picking a bad night in the playoffs to have a bad game,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “I don’t want to take any credit away from Pittsburgh, but our puck management tonight and our execution weren’t very good and ultimately cost us the game.” [NHL.com]
Last night was an example of a team taking a night off, the Rangers made mistake after mistake, and committed costly turnovers. If this was just a regular season game it would have been a big deal, but this was a Playoff game A game the Rangers needed. They were out shot, and out played. To add insult to injury Henrik Lundqvist finally had an off night. He posted a save percentage of .852.
“It just didn’t happen. I don’t know why. Some nights it just doesn’t go that way. I wish we all could figure that out at the time,” center Brad Richards said. “Tonight it was more about us. [Pittsburgh] might have played unbelievably if we tested them. We didn’t give them much of a test to see where they’re at tonight.” [NHL.com]
It was a night that could have gone the rangers way easily, Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury went back to his “playoff” self with a .867 SV%. It just seems like the Rangers forgot how to play, they have the talent and ability to make this a series, but it seems they don’t have the will. As if you need more of an example, the Rangers are now 0-36 on the Power Play tying an NHL Playoff record.
On the bright side the Rangers did score a few goals, it only took them a little over even periods to do that again. They also caught a break during the first period when Brooks Orpik left the game due to an injury. But nothing would come of it.
The Ranger can claw their way back into the series Friday when they fight for their Playoff lives.