Rangers 5 – Penguins 1
One thing the Penguins needed to avoid in Game 5 was giving the New York Rangers any life and having a let down game…… We now have a series
The New York Rangers set the tone from the drop of the puck, scoring two first period goals, en route to a 5-1 win in Game 5 to force a Game 6 on Sunday night back at MSG.
Pittsburgh leads the series, 3-2.
Derek Brassard scored twice, while Ryan McDonagh, Chris Kreider and Kevin Klein also scored in the win. Special teams was finally big for Rangers, going 2-3 on the power play, breaking an 0-for-36 drought and going 4-4 on the penalty kill, including a 5-on-3 kill in the second period that lasted 1:23.
The Rangers played with passion and tilted the ice very early into the game. New York was held to 15 shots in Game 4 but peppered the Penguins with 17 shots alone in the first period.
“At the start I think we played like a team that looked like we had an automatic bid to the next round,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said.
Everyone from Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma to the players all talked this morning about how the Penguins had to match the Rangers desperation. The Penguins, though, looked like a team that felt things were going to be easy again like Games 2-4. “We didn’t even come close to matching the desperation that we needed,” Sidney Crosby said.
Evgeni Malkin who scored a sensational goal in the second period to cut the Rangers lead to 2-1, was among the few Penguins to show up tonight.
The Rangers were much improved in a lot of areas. Their wall play was excellent, much more aggressive on the forecheck, and they got through the neutral zone with speed, something that was a daunting task for them the previous three games.
A lot of things we saw from the Penguins tonight were issues that had led to so many doubts prior to the playoffs of this team really being capable to winning a Stanley Cup.
Pittsburgh lacked any type of structure defensively, had the likes of Kris Letang trying to look for home run passes constantly, got shaky goaltending, and let the Rangers get under their skin when things weren’t going well.
The series certainly hasn’t shifted yet but this type of loss is the kind of loss like in 2011 against Tampa Bay in Game 5 that can change the momentum of a series. Not saying it has but the way the Rangers won tonight is different than them winning a competitive 3-2 game.
They now have some life and their best player, Ryan McDonagh, seems to have awaken as he was excellent tonight, playing his best game of the series.