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Rangers at Penguins - 05-09-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

-First things first, Martin St. Louis will play tonight. Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault announced St. Louis will be in the lineup a day after the unexpected dead of his mother.

-St. Louis learned of her passing while on the team's flight from New York to Pittsburgh. He then took a flight from Pittsburgh to Montreal to attend to his family. After discussing it with his dad, he felt it was best to play tonight's game.

-So... wow. Not to trivialize the gravity of a family members' death but how will this impact his play? He's been a non-factor most of this series. We can only guess he'll try to play the game of his life and his teammates will rally around him. Ever since their win in Game 1, this team has looked fatigued and defeated mentally. Seeing one of their most respected players suit up a day after a tragedy such as this would figure to gives his teammates a boost they have sorely lack.

-That all sounds rah-rah and "Win one for the Gipper!" type of stuff but the Rangers haven't displayed much motivation this series. If nothing else, St. Louis' situation and the desperation of being eliminated at the very least have the potential of providing this team plenty of motivation to improve its play.

-The last few games, the Penguins have been using Kris Letang on the power play in place of Matt Niskanen. Letang's overall play has been sharp the last handful of games while Niskanen's has, at best, leveled off a bit. Regardless, we're not a fan of the move. The power play has been 1 for 7 the past three games. (14.2 percent).

-There are a myriad of reasons the Penguins need to close this game out tonight. First and foremost is  getting some downtime while the Canadiens and Bruins slug it out in the other Eastern Conference second round series. Very far down the list is the locker stalls in the visiting room in Madison Square Garden. They appear to be designed for basketball players who generally are much taller than hockey players. The prior to Game 4, Matt Niskanen, who is only 6-foot-0 but was wearing skates, struggled to get his helmet on top of the shelf at the top of his stall. If nothing else, the Penguins could avoid some embarrassing moments for their players under six feet by eliminating the Rangers tonight.

-Some sights around the arena. The Home Depot barn:

-The ice:

-Tom Barrasso has a fan here:

-Matt Niskanen:

-Bill Guerin:

-Fans entering the barn:

-A solid turnout for the big screen:

-This was the only Rangers fan we could find and he was wearing what appeared to be a knockoff Mike Richter jersey:

-If you want an elimination game duo, it's hard to beat Martin Straka and Sergei Gonchar:

-That was mean. Sorry.

-A few former Penguins/Rangers. Alex Alexei Kovalev:

-Ulf Samuelsson:

-A rare Dan Quinn entry:

-An even rarer Ron Stackhouse entry:

-Jersey of the Night: Former Penguins/Rangers tough guy Mike Rupp:

-Warm ups:

-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Marc-Andre FLeury.

-Their scratches are Chris COnner, Deryk Engelland, Tanner Glass, Taylor Pyatt, Brooks Orpik and Tomas Vokoun.

-The Rangers' starters are Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist.

-Their scratches are Connor Allen, Ryan Bourque, Dan Carcillo, Raphael Diaz, Justin Falk, Jesper Fast, Tommy Hughes, Danny Kristo, David Leneveu, Oscar Lindberg, Dylan McIlrath, J.T. Miller, Darroll Powe  and Danny Syvret.

-The Rangers' lines in warmups:

Jeff Jimerson wants to end this series too:

FIRST PERIOD

19:50: Almost immediately, the Penguins go back to the lines they have been using throughout this series.

17:23: Off a turnover in the neutral zone by Brian Gibbons, Stepan fires a slapper from the right wing. Fleury fights it off. Kreider has a chance at the rebound on the left wing. and is denied by Fleury as well. Two tough saves.

16:41: Off a little feed from behind the cage, Kunitz is denied in tight by Lundqvist.

16:00: A wrister by Brandon Sutter from the right circle is fought off by Lundqvist.

15:56: James Neal settles a puck in the left wing corner and rips a wrister from a bad angle. Lundqvist fends that off.

14:35: Wide on the right, Boyle centers a pass to Nash in the slot. Nash goes to his forehand and appear to have FLeury beating but the puck goes well wide of the cage.

13:24: Taking a feed from on his own right wing wall, Adams flips the puck up ice on a Murphy Dump. Gibbons gets behind John Moore and tries to settle the puck enough to jam one in but Lundqvist denies him. Adams follows up on the play and ends up knocking Derick Brassard into Lundqvist. Just bout all the Rangers' skaters on the ice take exception and mob Adams in the right wing corner. Officials take a few moments to break it up.

11:41: Settling a puck at the left point, John Moore booms a slapper wide on the near side.

11:15: Playing a puck out of his own left wing corner, Robert Bortuzzo flips the puck out of playo. That's two mintues fo dealy of game.  Sutter, Adams, Martin and Rob Scuderi take the ice.

10:35: Richards swipes a slapper from the right point. Fleury traps it against his body despite a screen by Pouliot. Fans offer "Fleerrr-EEE!!!" chants.

10:24: FINALLY. The Rangers score a power play. Kreider dives to tap a feed to McDonagh who settles the puck at the right point. McDonagh booms a slapper on net. Fleury kicks it to the left wing corner for Kreider who is all over the rebound and snaps off a wrister which bouces off Fleury's right leg and into the cage. Kreider celebrates with St. Louis. Oof. Not a great goal for Fleury to allow. McDonagh and Richards get assists. Rangers 1-0.

8:02: Off a feed by Richards, St. Louis swats a shot from in tight which is blocked partially.

7:27: Another huge save by Lundqvist. Martin weaves his way in from the neutral zone to the right cirlce of the Rangers' zone. He criss-crosses with Crosby and fling a backhanded feed to the slot where Crosby redirects it on net. Lundqvist snags it.

6:37: Malkin wheels and deals his way up the right wing with a pretty display of puck handling. He ends up behind the cage and taps a backhanded feed to Goc above the blue paint. Goc can't get a clean shot off the puck hops to the high slot where Niskanen tries shooting but the puck is blocked out of play.

5:54: Niskanen swipes a slapper from the right point. Lundqvist snags it.

5:04: off a neutral zone turnover by Malkin, McDonagh flings  wrister from the right point which is blocked out of play by Martin.

4:37: The Rangers extend the lead. The Pouliout-Brassard-Zuccarello line strikes again. After Pouliot digs a puck free in the left wing circle, Zuccarello whacks it on net with a one-timer form the left dot. Brassard is position above the blue paint without anyone in a black jersey covering him. He is able to swat a rebound by the left leg of Fleury. Nothing but hard work on that goal. Zuccarello and Pouliot get assists. Rangers 2-0.

2:35: Getting loose at the right circle off a neutral zone turnover, Malkin tries to close in on net but McDonagh cuts him down with a solid pursuit. Malkin recovers the puck in the left corner and feed it to Crosby's in the right circle. Crosby leans down for a one-timer off the side of the cage.

2:11: Off a give and go play, Malkin is tripped up at the Rangers' right point by Pouliot. That's two minutes for tripping. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Letang and Martin take the ice.

0:22: A wrister by Jokinen off the right in is fough off by Lundqvist.

0:11: The Pouliot minor is killed with little threat from the Penguins.

0:00: End of period. Rangers 2, Penguins 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-The Rangers finally showed a response. What was odd about this response was that was more in their execution than in emotion. They played a pretty sharp, efficient period in terms of their passing and details. They had a few turnovers and sloppy plays, but they were by far the sharper team. They didn't earn this two-goal lead through desperation. They earned it through simply playing better.

-The Penguins looked pretty out of it. You would hope for something better with a chance to eliminate a team on the line.

-Evgeni Malkin was flying around pretty good. He looks like he wants to do some damage.

-That Pouliot-Zuccarello-Brassard line did some more damage. That was the 10 goal that line, or elements of it, has scored against the Penguins this season.

-Ryan McDonagh had arguably his best period of the series. He was strong in all three zones.

-The Rangers lead in shots on net, 17-9.

-The Rangers have a 28-16 lead in attempted shots.

-Brassard leads the game with three shots.

-None of the Penguins has more than one.

-Martin leads the game with 8:43 of ice time.

-Staal leads the Rangers with 7:54.

-The Penguins have a 12-11 lead in faceoffs (52 percent).

-Crosby and Stepan are each 6 for 10 in faceoffs (60 percent).

-Martin leads the game with three blocked shots.

-None of the Rangers has more than one blocked shots.

-A reader spotted a pretty sharp jersey:

-We neglected to post this earlier. This is the T-Shirt of the day:

-Hockey Night in Canada spotted a moment between Crosby and St. Louis prior to the game:

SECOND PERIOD

19:15: Niskanen pounds a slapper from the right point. Lundqivst eats it up.

18:02: On a forecheck, Beau Bennett slams Kevin Klein behind the net with a solid hit, albeit from behind.

17:14: Martin swats a one-timer from above the left circle which is blocked.

16:37: Evgeni Malkin simply chooses to score a goal. Taking a pass in the neutral zone, he gains the Rangers' blue line and bulls his way between Girardi and Staal. He recovers the puck above the blue paint and chops it on net. Lundqvist rejects the shot but falls backwards and allow a rebound Malkin recovers the puck to the right of the cage, spins whips it by the glove hand of a prone Lundqvist. What a determined effort. This place erupts in noise. Letang gets the only assist. The "Hey Song" is always determeind.  Rangers 2-1.

15:30: After the goal announcement, Fans offer "Geee-No! Geee-No!" chants.

14;13: Off a drop pass from Neal, Sutter booms a slapper from above the right circle. Lundqvist eats it up.

13:37: Taking a feed from Kunitz, Crosby rockets a wrister from the high slot. Lundqvist eats it up.

12:52: Olli Maatta snaps off a wrister from the left half wall. Lundqvist punches it away wit his blocker despite having a few bodies floating around.

12:02: Brassard-Zuccarello-Pouliot stike again. Zuccarello goes deep on the right wing and leave a drop pass for Anton Stralman. Stralman pounds a one-timer from the right circle. Fleury kicks it out but allows  a rebound. Brassard gets two cracks the rebound and flips it between Martin and Jokinen as well as a sprawling Fleury. Ugh. Stralman and Zuccarello get assists. Rangers 3-1.

11:28: The hole gets a little deeper for the Penguins as they are nabbed for too many men on the ice. Malkin will serve the minor. Scuderi, Martin, Sutter and Adams take the ice.

11:12: The Rangers' power play has come to life. After Scuderi is stripped of the puck in his own right wing corner by Pouliot, it ends up on the stick of McDoangh who pounds a one-timer from the right point through traffic by the glove hand Fleury. Fleury looked lost on that shot. Zuccarello and Brassard each get assists. This place has been deflated. Rangers 4-1.

10:15: A slapper by Hagelin is rejected by Fleury.

9:20: A wister by Neal is blocked by McDonagh.

8:24: Bennett pushes a puck up the right wing and snaps off a low wrister which Lundqvist kicks out.

7:08: A wrister by Crosby from the left circle is blocked out of play by Staal's stick.

4:31: Off some tic-tac-toe passing, Crosby chops a one-timer from the right poitn. Lundqivst kicks it out.

4:11: A shot from Goc in the high slot is blocked.

3:08: Jokinen snaps off a a wrister from the left wing. Lundqvist kicks it out.

2:59: Niskanen tries to line up Derek Dorsett in the neutral zone but Dorsett braces for the hit and sends Niskanen into the boards in front of the Rangers' penalty box.

2:26: On a delayed penalty, Crosby snap off a wrister which Lundqvist bodies away. Brassard is sent off for slashing Malkin near the Penguins' blue line. Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin, Letang and Martin take take the ice. Attendance is announced as 18,633. It is the team's 333rd consecutive sellout.

1:50: Letang swipes a one-timer from the left half wall. Lundqvist kicks it out. Kunitz has a chance on the rebound but is simply tackled by Girardi. Play is halted. Girardi prevents a a goal but takes a holding penaty. Crosby, Jokinen, Malkin, Kunitz and Letang take the ice.  A goal here is a must. The Penguins will have a five-on-three for 1:23.

0:26: As Brassard's minor is delayed. Malkin tries to take a pass in the left circle and tries to curl and drag around Boyle but the 6-fooot-7 center slides down and his skates kick out the puck of the zone.

0:20: Letang has two shots from the left of the cage denied by Lundqvist.

0:00: End of period. A last second shot by Niskanen from the slot is snagged by Lundqvist. Niskanen knocks over Klein as the horn sounds. Klein races after Niskanen but is held up and can't get at him. Rangers 4, Penguins 1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-There isn't much to breakdown there. The Penguins flat out stunk that period. The Rangers just outplayed them.

-Malkin is really the only player in black trying to make a difference in this game. He can't carry this team alone.

-That brings us to Crosby who has been terrible most of the night. Once again, his puck decisions are off.

-The special teams clearly have let the Penguins down tonight.

-Henrik Lundqvist has been pretty sharp. He needed a rebound game.

-The Rangers have a 26-24 lead in shots.

-The Rangers have a 47-40 lead in attempted shots.

-John Moore, Rick Nash and Letang each lead the game with four shots.

-McDonagh leads the game with 19:07.

-Martin leads the Penguins with 16:55.

-The Penguins have a 30-14 lead in faceoffs (68 percent).

-Sutter is 12 for 14 (86 percent).

-Stepan is 7 for 16 (44 percent).

-Martin leads the game with five blocked shots.

-Girardi and McDonagh each lead the Penguins with two blocked shots.

THIRD PERIOD

20:00: The Penguins will have 11 seconds of power play time on fresh ice. Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin, Letang and Martin take the ice.

19:49: Girardi returns to the ice. What a failure by the Penguins with that chance.

16:19: Crosby takes a pass on the right wing and tries to spin off a check form Brassard but loses the puck.

15:04: A one-timer by the great Joe Vitale at center point is kicked out by Lundqvist.

14:49: Neal backhand a pass off the right wing towards the cage. The great Joe Vitale re-directs it on net. Lundqvist kicks it out.

13:46: As the Rangers net is knocked off, Dominic Moore and collide on the Rangers' left half wall while the whistle sounds. It's a slightly high hit and Crosby takes exception giving Moore some grief afterwards. A scrum develops. Letang jumps in. Dorsett and Kunitz mouth off. Letang and Dominic Moore each get  roughing minors. We'll see four-on-four play for two minutes.

13:20: Niskanen rips a wrister from the left circle which Lundqvist eats up. Malin digs at the puck and is shoved by Girardi. Zuccarello and Crosby mix it up. This game is really deteriorating. The Rangers will have a four-on-three power lay for 1:34.  Adams, Sutter and Martin take the ice. A kill her is a must.

13:13: A one-timer by McDonagh from above the left circle is eaten up by FLeury.

12:58: A one-timer by Sepan from the left circle is fought off by Fleury.

11:49: Zuccarello whacks a one-timer from the right point. Fleury eats it up.

11:46: Moore and Letang return to the ice. The Rangers will have a five-on-four power play for 26 seconds.

11:20: Malkin returns to the ice. The rangers accomplished little else with that chance other than chewing up some clock.

10:52: Richards rockets a wrister from the high slot. Fleury eats it up.

9:45: Zuccarello coasts up the right wing and centers a pass to the slot for Pouliot. The pass is a bit off the mark and they fail to connect.

8:48: In deep on the left wing, Letang lifts a backhander over the cage.

8:41: Taking a pass above the left circle Letang rips a wrister which Lundqvist snags. The great Joe Vitale meanders into the crease. John Moore takes exception and shoves him to the ice.

8:07: Dorsett snaps off a wrister from the left wing wide to the far side.

7:44: Dominic Moore runs into Gibbons who was bent over at the red line in front of the off-ice off ice offiicials. Gibbons takes exception and cross-checks Moore. Both players get minors, Gibbons for cross-checking and Moore for roughing. Four on four play for two minutes.

7:01: Nash lugs the puck up the right wing and dumps it in with a backhand to the Penguins' right wing corner to get a line change.

5:57: Letang chops a slapper from the right circle wide of the cage.

5:53: Play is halted as John Moore and Jussi Jokinen exchange cross check in front of Lundqvist then engaed in a Roman-Greco wrestling match. Moore gets a slashing and crosschecking minor. Jokinen gets a cross checking mnor. The Penguins end up with a four-on-three power play then pull Fleuyr fo an e xta attacker. Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Letang and Kunitz take the ice.

5:47: A one-timer by Letang from above the left circle is rejected by Lundqvist.

5:44: Dominic Moore and Gibbons return to the ice.

4:56: A one-timer by Malkin from the right circle is kick out by Lundqvist.

4:14: With a stoppage, the Penguins call timeout to get organized.

4:05: Stealinga puck off Neal at the right point, Stepan chucks a wrister from the neutral zone off the side of the open net.

3:20: Neal gets away with a trip on Strlaman in the neutral zone.

2:29: Game. Set. Match. Settling a puck at the left point, Kevin Klein swats it into the open cage for one of us:

http://old.post-gazette.com/images4/empty_netters_500x85_new.jpg

-Kreider and Nash get assists. Rangers 5-1.

0:27: A wrister by Stempniak from the right circle is kicked out by Lundqvist.

0:00: Play ends with Craig Adams breaking his stick across the right shoulder of Dominic Moore. End of game. Rangers 5, Penguins 1.

POSTGAME

-That... that wasn't good. That was butt-whipping. The Rangers took it right to the Penguins and the Penguins didn't make it difficult what so ever. The Penguins casual approach to this game was simply unacceptable.

-The Rangers were emotional. They were desperate. Those attributes played a role in them pulling this win out but the biggest reason they won this game was execution. They were crisp with the puck. They didn't turn it over. They converted not one but two actual power-play goals.

-Martin St. Louis didn't have a particularly good game once again. He was limited to one shot, no point and 16:19 of ice time on 22 shift. He wasn't a liability by any means but he was had to notice on the ice with the naked eye. But by all accounts from his teammates and his head coach, his presence provided an emotional lift to a team sorely needing one. After the previous three games, the despair in the Rangers' room was pretty evident. After tonight, this team sounded like it was unbeatable.

-For the transcript of St. Louis' postgame availability, click here. It's pretty emotional stuff.

-As far as the Penguins are concerned, NBC Sports' Keith Jones put it perfectly when he said they had a lot of passengers tonight. Far too many players failed to offer anything of significance in the way of a contribution in this game. Its almost as if they expected the Rangers to offer the flat performances they saw in Games 2, 3 and 4. The Rangers did the exact opposite of that and flattened the Penguins.

-Special teams crippled the Penguins tonight. They were atrocious on both ends of the ice. You had to figure the Rangers would break through with something on the power play eventually but they did more than break through. They won the game with their power play. The Penguins looked pretty feeble and only killed on of the three power plays they faced tonight.

-Speaking of feeble, the Penguins' power play was pretty ugly. As we noted in the pregame, the addition of Kris Letang hasn't seemed to help the varsity power play unit. The Penguins are in an 0 for 8 skid on the power play the last three games, mostly with Letang and not Matt Niskanen on the first power play unit.

-Sidney Crosby regressed after a few solid games. He looked like he did during much of the first round against the Blue Jackets where his puck decisions were off. He forced a lot of passes which were broken up. The Penguins needed more from him.

-The Penguins' second line was a non-factor as well. Jussi Jokinen, Brandon Sutter and James Neal looked ordinary, to be kind.

-The Benoit Pouliot-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello line once again ravaged the Penguins. They now have 11 goals in nine goals this season against the Penguins.

-Evgeni Malkin was one of the few Penguins who offered an effort of any note tonight. The dominance he displayed on the Penguins' lone goal was spellbinding.

-Ryan McDonagh came through with a big game when his team needed him the most. He's been mostly MIA in this series. He was a force all over the ice tonight.

-With the score lopsided, this game got chippy late. There was plenty of ugliness late and that drove up the penalty minutes. Dominic Moore seemed to be be an object of much of the Penguins' scorn.

-Over the past two games, Chris Kreider has been the Rangers' best player in our opinion. He's been strong with the puck and has been a force in front of Marc-Andre Fleury.

-This game continues a pretty ugly trend of the Penguins failing to close series out at home under Dan Bylsma. Since he became head coach, the Penguins are 1-7 in home games in which they can eliminate an opponent.

-Barf.

-Marc-Andre Fleury was okay but not great. The first goal he allowed to Kreider off a rebound was preventable. It seemed to put the Penguins behind the eight ball for mos tof ht enight.

-Henrik Lundqvist once again stole a few goals. He earned this win.

-The Rangers led the game in shots on net, 35-32.

-The Rangers led in attempted shots, 65-57.

-Letang led the game with 6 shots.

-Brassard led the Rangers with five shots.

-McDonagh led the game with 26:53 of ice time.

-Paul Martin led the Penguins with 25:38.

-The Penguins led in faceoffs, 40-27 (60 percent).

-Crosby was 17 for 26 (65 percent).

-Brassard was 7 for 14 (50 percent).

-Martin led the game with five blocked shots.

-Girardi and McDonagh each led the Rangers with two blocked shots.

-Malkin moved into a tie with Jokinen and the Kings' Marian Gaborik for the league lead in goals with six.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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