Game 1 was not outstanding for Matt Niskanen. Teamed with Olli Maatta, Niskanen was partially responsible for each of the scoring chances the Rangers converted for their first goal goals in the first period. New York would win the game in overtime, 3-2.
Game 2 when better for Niskanen. Aside from a roughing minor, Niskanen had a fairly clean game in which he logged 18:34 of ice time and saw quite a few shifts against the Rangers' line of Benoit Pouliot, Derick Brasssard and Mats Zuccarello which has given the Penguins trouble this season. Zuccarello was the only member of that line to even record a shot on net as the Rangers were blanked, 3-0.
Yesterday, Niskanen talked about his effort in Game 1 and what he did to try and rebound:
How do you assess how things went for you in Game 1?
"Well, you’ve got to look at it and be honest with yourself about what happened. Think about what your job is and see if you did it."
The same exact situation is rarely going to arise again the next game, but how do you apply what you learned in from one game to the next?
"I always think positional. The details of where you’re supposed to be. Where your stick should be. Things like that. Focus on those things and once you’re out there, you shouldn’t be thinking about it. Evaluate how you were positionally in the game before, look at it that way and you just focus on playing the game."
You mentioned recently watch videos of each of your games? Do you do that by yourself, with assistant coach Todd Reirden or others?
"It’s available to us individually every game. And I do that. I watch every game individually. Sometimes ifTodd has something to show us, which is quite often, he’ll show you something specific that he wants you to take a look at. Sometimes you watch them in pairs. Sometimes you watch them as [with all the defensemen]. For the most part, individual evaluate then Todd will step in."
How do you access it?
"We have a computer system. You just click on the game you want and look at your shifts. They can set it up so you can look on your iPad at home."
You don't sound happy with how you played in Game 1.
"I made a couple of mistakes. I’m not happy about it but I don’t mean to sound like I’m grumpy today or anything. You’ve got to be realistic with yourself and evaluate yourself and use it as motivation for the next game. Playoffs, you’ve got to earn form it quick, have a short memory and get jacked up for the next one."
Did you learn anything new about the Rangers after Game 1?
"No surprises really. That’s how they played when we played against them earlier this year. They look to go. They look to pressure. They’ve got some speedy forwards that look to take off. They stretch the ice. You know [Rangers goaltender Henrik] Lundqvist is going to be good. Their top four [defensemen] especially are pretty stout, pretty good. Positionally, they’re not going to give you a lot of space."
(Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)