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Insider Only Post-Game Buzz + X’s & O’s: Penguins constantly made Rangers pay for defensive miscues, lapses by normally structured team



Through two games, the Penguins team speed has been too much toohandle for both the Flyers who are a strong skating team and now the Rangers tonight. Are the Penguins just better conditioned or is this going to be a sign of things to come?
Personnel wise the Penguins added speed with the addition of Tanner Glass on the fourth line and Glass, Joe Vitale were great fits together tonight as Vitale returned to the lineup.
The Penguins team speed and ability in the transition game had the Rangers running around defensively and out of position on a number of occasions, which is something that just doesn’t happen often for a tightly structured Rangers team. The Penguins constantly made the Rangers pay for their defensive miscues from a bad a change on Pascal Dupuis power play goal at 9:11 of the second period to James Neal second goal of the game at 5:06 of the third period, when three Rangers caught got watching the puck down low as it came around to Evgeni Malkin and never identified a wide open James Neal in front.
The puck management game was also tremendous, aside from an Evgeni Malkin turnover on the power play in the neutral zone that led to Rick Nash’s shorthanded breakaway goal.


The Penguins jumped on Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers early, getting three first period goals from James Neal, Tyler Kennedy and Matt Niskanen, taking a 3-1 lead at the intermission.
A Pascal Dupuis power play goal at the 9:11 mark of the second period ended Lundqvist’s night.


The Penguins burned the Flyers yesterday with two offensive zone faceoffs leading to goals in the first period and it was more of the same tonight vs the Rangers.
Sidney Crosby was 0-for-6 on faceoffs in the first period up until he won a clean draw from Derek Stepan in the offensive zone at the right dot, setting up the Penguins third goal of the game, a Matt Niskanen shot that went off Dan Girardi’s skate and past Lundqvist.


Rich Nash was a lone bright spot for the Rangers. Nash had a shorthanded breakaway goal in the third period and had several impressive shifts in the game, using size, hands and speed, making him a very tough matchup tonight.


Putting his lineup in first, Dan Bylsma started Tanner Glass on Evgeni Malkin’s line to open the game and Rangers head coach John Tortorella countered with Arron Asham starting the game. To no surprise, Glass and Asham dropped the gloves as the puck dropped and the two had a great fight. Bylsma, though, noted he didn’t start Glass on Malkin’s line for that purpose (to fight) as it was Tort’s decision to start Asham, but wanted Glass to set the tone which he did. “{Sent} Tanner Glass to set the tone and I think he certainly did that,” Bylsma said.

X’S & O’s

The Penguins were 2 of 5 on the power play, getting power play goals from James Neal and Pascal Dupuis, and on the Penguins opening goal of the game, a James Neal power play goal at 1:48 of the first period, it showed where Neal can be a dangerous player in his new role as long as the Penguins are moving the puck quickly around and spacing out the opposition.
PIT 1:48 1st period: James Neal (2) (Power Play)
Assists: Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang
How They Scored: The Penguins new look power play with James Neal on the left point, played out just like the coaching staff had drawn it up. The Penguins set things up with Evgeni Malkin getting the puck at the right half wall and slide a pass over to James Neal on the left side who buried a snap shot past Henrik Lundqvist from 27 ft out.
How Penguins exploited Rangers PK: The puck started on the left wall with Chris Kunitz then up to James Neal on the left point and over to Kris Letang on the right point then to Malkin at the right half boards. The Penguins had quick puck movement and as the puck worked it’s way back to Malkin, Ryan Callahan got caught collapsing too low, leaving a passing lane open through the middle of the ice and Malkin slide a pass over to Neal who moved into prime shooting position and buried it.

On the Penguins second power play goal of the game, a Pascal Dupuis power play marker at 9:11 of the second period, the Penguins caught the Rangers for a bad change as James Neal raced back to get the puck and quickly turned the puck up the other way to Chris Kunitz on the left boards at the Rangers blueline who made a cross ice feed to Malkin down the right side who quickly fed it over to Dupuis for the goal in front.
We got our first look of the Penguins 5-on-3 scheme as the Penguins had a 5-on-3 advantage from late into the second period and into the start of the third.
What might need to change that didn’t happen today is the Penguins didn’t try to make James Neal the primary shooter in the high slot. The Penguins looked for a number of one-time opportunities for Malkin and Crosby but not Neal who they need to get into shooting positions in 5-on-3 situations and make him more of a focal point like they do in 5-on-4 situations. You just can’t let that shot go to waste.


As noted above, the Penguins transition game and team speed was a difference maker tonight. Here’s a breakdown of Tyler Kennedy’s goal that had a little bit of both areas (transition game/team speed) working for the Penguins.
PIT 15:05 Tyler Kennedy (2)
Assists: Joe Vitale, Simon Despres
How They Scored: Simon Despres made a perfect bank pass off the boards in the neutral zone, and Joe Vitale beat Stu Bickel wide and driving to the net, Tyler Kennedy put home a Vitale rebound to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
Transition Game/Team Speed: This goal was a little bit of everything for the Penguins. The transition game was excellent with Despres making a nifty bank pass off the boards and the team speed from Vitale who came flying down the right side beating Bickel wide in a 1-on-1 battle.
The key player on this goal was Despres who showed some creative ability as he read where Vitale was going to be on the regroup and hit him stride with the pass off the boards which was the key, as Vitale was able to come with speed and beat a flat footed Stu Bickel wide.
Quote of the night: “Maybe we need to get whacked around a little more to wake us up,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said on Brooks Orpik’s clean open hit on Chris Kreider in the third period.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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