By Mark Madden
Last night’s Penguins loss was ASTONISHING.
Last night’s Penguins loss was an indication of how far this team has to go in terms of discipline, and COMMON SENSE.
New York Rangers lead, 1-0. The Penguins have played very well. Can’t crack Henrik Lundqvist in the Rangers net. Thirty-nine shots total, with a plethora of nailed-on scoring chances.
Chris Kunitz breaks through with 2:31 remaining in regulation. Matt Cooke puts the Penguins ahead 38 seconds later. It’s like the second game of the season against Montreal, but the skate’s on the other foot. The Penguins even get a power play courtesy of Lundqvist, who throws a stick-smashing temper tantrum after Cooke nets.
There’s just 1:53 remaining. That’s it. Burn that, you win.
First mistake: Coach Disco puts out his full power-play unit. Alex Goligoski had been having a NIGHTMARE. You’re ahead. You don’t need your power play, you don’t need a power-play goal and anyway, your power play SUCKS. Zero-for-6, minus-one last night.
Second mistake: Evgeni Malkin has the puck on the right boards. He makes a lazy pass to the middle. Why? Why did Malkin do that? Just take the puck to the corner. Work down low. Kill time. The Rangers were PRAYING for that pass. They intercept the puck and go the other way jailbreak-style, shorthanded. Nothing to lose, everything to gain.
Rangers score. Rangers tie. Rangers win in overtime.
In overtime, you got the two big-money defensemen flopping around on the ice like speared fish. The Penguins definitely need better from Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek.
But how could Malkin be so stupid? That loss is on him. He wasted what would have been an inspirational comeback win. He wasted another good outing by Marc-Andre Fleury.
Malkin should be embarrassed. You win or lose as a team, but his bad decision cost the Penguins that game.
Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM (105.9).