-The Penguins had a few significant developments this morning. First, Olli Maatta did not practice today. No official reason was provided. If he's unavailable, that would presumably mean a return to the lineup for Deryk Engelland who has not played since April 12.
-If Maatta does not play, that could throw the Penguins' defensive pairings all out of whack. Considering Kris Letang and Paul Martin did not have a particularly strong performance in game 5, the Penguins could display three completely new defensive pairings tonight.
-The Penguins also displayed a new look on the first power play unit this morning with Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Matt Niskanen. The Penguins have been 0 for 7 on the power play the previous three games. During much of that time, Kris Letang was on the power play instead of Matt Niskanen.
-We're not going to outright blame Letang but the numbers are hard to ignore. Letang has a world of skill but Niskanen has been a much steadier element on the power play than Letang most of this season.
-The addition of James Neal is big too. He's a shooter. He has led the NHL in power-play goals before in his career. If nothing else, he get a few pucks on the net.
-After today's morning skate, Dan Bylsma was asked what needs to improve on the power play. He responded:
-"In the series so far, we've had the looks and the opportunities and the chances of where we think we can. We haven't attacked and taken them. Some of our power plays have just been possession power plays and we've gotten away from the mindset of attacking and breaking down and shooting the puck on their [penalty kill]. That's something we talked about going into last last game doing. Again, we've had good looks and good opportunities. We just haven't broken them down and shot the puck and attack like we can. That's what we need to do better."
-Jokes about supplemental discipline noted, Neal is someone who can help you attack.
-If you didn't see it, Whitehall native John Gibson made his NHL postseason debut with the Ducks and merely shutout the Kings, 2-0. Gibson became the second goaltender in NHL history to earn shutouts in his regular season and postseason debut joining Bruins great Tiny Thompson in 1928-29. We've been trying to start a nickname for him - The Brick Wall from Whitehall."
-We'll work on that.
-A few sights. Two monumental moments at Madison Square Garden side-by-side:
-The iconic ceiling of Madison Square Garden:
-The always rare Jaromir Jagr/Brian Leetch combination:
-Mike Richter with a 1994 Stanley Cup Final patch:
-(Bury) Adam Graves:
-Fans entering the barn:
-There weren't many Penguins fans here. The only ones we really saw were these two Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby fans:
-Normally, a Martin Straka Rangers jersey would be jersey of the night:
-But we have to go with Sergei Zubov:
-Olli Maatta did participate in warmups. The Penguins lines in warmups were:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Evgeni Malkin
Jussi Jokinen - Brandon Sutter - James Neal
Beau Bennett - Marcel Goc - Lee Stempniak
Brian Gibbons - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Kris Letang - Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen - Olli Maatta
Robert Bortuzzo - Deryk Engelland
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, ris Letang and Paul Martin and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Chris Conner, Deryk Engelland, Tanner Glass, Brooks Orpik, Taylor Pyatt and Tomas Vokoun .
-The Rangers' starters are Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lunqvist.
-Their scratches are Connor Allen, Ryan Bourque, Dan Carcillo, Raphael Diaz, Justin Falk, Jesper Fast, Justin Falk, Tommy Hughes, Danny Kristo, David Leneveu, Oscar Lindberg, Dylan McIlrath, Darroll Powe and Danny Syvret.
-The national anthem:
19:39: My lord. Nash taps a pass up the right wing for Derke Stepan who gets behind Marint and Letang. He has a clean path to the net off the right wing and simply runs into referee Marc Joannette and both parties take a hard tumble to the ice. Stepan loses the puck and the Penguins skate out of danger. Joannette might have provided one of the best defensive plays of the series for the Penguins.
18:15: Martin St. Louis takes the ice and Rangers fans begin chanting "Mar-Tee! (clap, clap) Mar-Tee! (clap, clap).
17:45: "Flerrr...eeeeeee.... Flerrrrr....Eeeeee" chants begin.
17:14: Malkin tires to settle a puck to the left of the cage but cant' get a clean shot on net.
16:42: Niskanen pounds a slapper from the right point. Lundqvist kicks it out. That's the first official shot of the game.
16:25: Happy Mothers Day to Martin St. Louis. Taking a pass in the high slot from St. Louis, Stralman rips a wrister which Fleury fights off. He allows a rebound to the right of the cage where Sepan gets a piece of it with a backhand. The puck glances off the right leg of St. Louis and trickles behind Fleury. St. Louis celebrate with a fierce fist pump in the right wing corner and his teammates join him. Stepan did a lot of the work on that play to dig the puck free behind the net from Martin and Letang. Stepan and Stralman get assists. Rangers 1-0.
16:09: The Rangers are flying early. On the ensuing shift, Maatt turns the puck over the left point to St. Louis. St. Louis chases it up ice the Penguins' right wing and swats a backhander at the cage. Fleury smothers it. Rangers fans offer more "Martee!" chants.
15:42: Taking a feed at the left point, John Moore pumps a slapper on net. Fleury boots it out with his right leg.
14:39: Stempniak is stumped hard into the bards at the Rangers' right point by Derek Dorsett.
13:35: The Rangers off an running. Bortuzzo misses a pass at the left point and the puck leaves the attacking zone. Carl Hagelin races up ice for the puck on a partial breakaway. Scuderi chases him down on and blocks a centering pass attempt for Richards in the slot. Hagelin is able to recover the puck in the left circle and flings the puck with a backhander between Fleury's blocker and his ribs. Ugh. What an awful goal to allow. The goal is unassisted. The Penguins call a timeout to get organized. Rangers fans offer more "Fleerrr....Eeeeee...." chants. This place is nuts. Rangers 2-0.
11:42: Taking a cross-ice pass from Malkin, Crosby flings a backhander from the right circle wide on the near side.
11:00: The Rangers get a power play. As Fleury freezes a puck along the side of the net, a scrum ensues. Jokinen gives a shot to Stepan. Officials give Jokinen a roughing minor. Sutter, Adams, Scuderi and Martin take the ice
10:44: Richard rips a wrister from above the left circle. Fleury kicks it out despite a strong screen by Benoit Pouliot.
9:34: Trying to rag a puck in the Ranger's right wing corner and is slammed HARD by Kreider int he boards. St. Louis sneaks a pass from the high slot to Kreider who sneaks behind Letang and Adams in the left circle. Kreider tries to jam in a backhand shot through Fleury's five hole but is denied.
9:27: St. Louis sneaks a pass from the high slot to Kreider behind Adams in the left circle. Kreider tries to tuck in a backhander through Fleury's five hole.
9:00: The Jokinen minor expires.
8:40: On a scramble around the net, Lundqvist freezes a puck. As Malkin battles with a defender, Jokinen is standing int he blue paint and is shoved from behind into the net by Kreider. Jokinen falls to the ice hard. Immediately, a referee points at the penalty box for Kreider who then gives Jokinen a few potshots while he's still on the ice. Jokinen may have sold that hit a bit. Officials break everyone up. Malkin Crosby, Neal, Kunitz and Niskanen take the ice.
7:46: Niskanen swipes a one-timer from above the left circle. Lundqvist boot it away.
6:50: St. Louis gets a short-handed chance on the right wing and lifts a wrister on net. FLeury rejects it.
6:40: The Kreider minor is killed. The Penguins didn't offer much attack on that power play.
6:03: Taking a center in pass in the slot, Goc taps a puck on net. Lundqvist kicks it out.
4:47: A wrister by Neal is blocked by Marc Staal.
3:04: The Penguins strike. Controlling a puck bat the right point. Niskanen slides it to Sutter on the right half wall. Sutter chucks it towards the net. It appears to glance off John Moore then Kevin Klein and bounces by Lundqvist's right skate. What a rotten luck for the Rangers. The Penguins will take it. Niskanen and Maatta get assists. That was huge for the Penguins. Rangers 2-1.
2:16: A wrister by Zuccarello is denied by Fleury.
1:59: A slapper by Bortuzzo from the right point is rejected by Lundqvist.
0:00: End of period. Rangers 2, Penguins 1.
-Considering Marc Joannette was the Penguins' best defensive player that period, things could have gone WAY worse. Dan Bylsma called a Peter Laviolette timeout and settled things down. The Rangers till had the better of the play throughout the rest of the period but the Penguins were able to level things off a bit and got a goal, albeit, a lucky one.
-Martin St. Louis looks like he has a rocket on his back. He's flying on the ice. He clearly has some motivation.
-We can forgive Fleury for the St. Louis goal but the Kreider score was a killer. That had to be a save.
-Crosby still looked pretty ineffective that period.
-Maatta looks okay for someone presumably not completely healthy. He sort of got overwhelmed by St. Louis on one rush up the ice but he's not the first person to have that happen to him.
-Whatever changes the Penguins made on the power play, they weren't evident on the one chance they had in the first period./
-The Penguins led in shots on net, 15-14.
-The Penguins have a 22-19 lead in attempted shots.
-Niskanen and St. Louis each lead the game with three blocked shots.
-The Penguins have a 12-6 lead in faceoffs (67 percent).
-The great Joe Vitale is 4 for 5 (80 percent).
-Dominic Moore is 2 for 2 (100 percent).
-Fire Ray Shero.
-John Moore leads the game with three blocked shots.
-None of the Penguins have more than one.
18:17: A time-honored tradition takes place. Rangers fans offer a "Potvin xxxx's" chant in "tribute to former Islanders defenseman Denis Potvin.
17:45: More "Mar-Tee!" chants.
17:17: Stempniak circles around the back of the Rangers' cage and center a pass to the slot for the Great Joe Vitale who taps it wide of the cage.
15:57: Off a feed from Crosby, Letang swipes a slapper from the right half wall. Lundqvist steers it away.
15:11: The Penguins are nabbed for too many men on the ice. Jokinen will serve the minor. This is a fairly significant two minutes. Sutter, Adams, Martin and Scuderi take the ice.
15:02: Ryan McDonagh chucks a wrister from center point. It deflects wide.
14:47: A slapper by McDonagh from center point is wide of the cage.
14:19: Big save again from Lundqvist. A puck deflects to the neutral zone an Goc chases it down. He gets behind McDonagh and race in on a breakaway. He attacks the net on his backhand and lifts a shot. It juuuust glances off the cuff of Lundqvist's glove and deflects off the cross bar. Goc raises his hands in premature celebration but no dice.
14:05: Kreider gets a puck on the right wing, chugs through a check from Letang and attacks the net. He goes backhand and is dnied by Fleury then simply runs in Fleury with a sort of drive-by swipe of his left elbow to Fleury's head. Officials immediately signal a goaltender interference penalty against Kreider as Fleury falls back into the cage with the puck. No goal. We'll see four-on-four play for 1:07.
13:45: Rangers fans chant "THESE REFS XXXX!" Okay then.
13:11: Jokinen take the ice. The Penguins will have a brief five-on-four power play.
12:31: Short-handed, Stepan pushes a puck up ice on-on-on against. Niskanen. Using Niskanen as a screen, he snaps off a tricky wrister from the high slot. Fleury snags it.
12:23: Crosby gains the offensive zoen and whips a wrister from the high slot. Lundqvist eats it up.
12:04: Kreider's minor expires. Play returns to five-on-five.
11:52: A wrister by Staal from the high slot is blocked by Letang. Letang is in some considerable pain.
11:28: Another penalty. Driving to the net off the right wing. Bennett upends St. Louis and sends him crashing into the Rangers' cage and dislodges. That's two minutes for interference. Scuderi, Martin, Goc and Adams take the ice.
10:33: McDonagh rips a wrister through traffic from the right point. Fleury eats it up.
10:11: Another big save from Lundqvist. Off a neutral zone turnover, Gibbons races in off the right wing short-handed by Girardi and attacks the net. He fires a forehand shot. Lundqvist is able to squeeze his pads and prevent the shot. Wow.
9:28: The Bennett minor is killed.
8:50: Bortuzzo cranks a one-timer from the right point. Lundqvist snags it.
7:56: The great Joe Vitale takes a drop pass from Sutter and rips a wrister from deep on the right wing. Lundqvist kicks it out.
7:38: Klein chops a slapper from the right point. Fleury kicks it out. St. Louis has a chance at the rebound but Maatta ties him up enough to prevent a shot.
6:55: The Penguins get another powe play. Zuccarrello is called for tripping Scuderi in the neutral zone. He sort of kickedout Scuderi's right skate with his left skate. Malkin, Kunitz, Crosby, Niskaknen and Neal take the ice.
6:48: A one-timer by Malkin from the right half wall is wide of the cage.
6:35: Short-handed, Brian Boyle pushes the puck up the right wing, get a step on Niskanen and shoves a backhander on net. Fleury holds it out. Hagelin in is all over the rebound and flings it wide of the cage.
5:04: Letang has a chacne int he left circle but a diving poke check by Nash prevents it.
4:56: Crosby attempts a one-timer from the right circle but his stick breaks as the power play expires. He had a fairly clean look at the net.
4:30: Who else but the Brassard-Pouliot-Zuccarello line? Zuccarello spins off the right half wall and deals a pass to John Moore at the right point. Moore chops a half one-timer at the cage. Pouliot is int he slot and re-directs it on net. Fleury makes the initial save but allow a rebound. Brassard is able to dig it free from FLeurys' glove hand and the puck hops into the cage for a goal. That's the 12th goal of the season for that line against the Penguins. Pouliot and Klein get assists. Rangers 3-1.
4:00: More "Flerrr...Eeeeeee..." chants.
3:22: A slapper by Niskanen is blocked by John Moore.
2:32: Zuccarello fires a slapper wide of the cage.
1:15: After a few stagnant minutes, Maatta chucks a puck from the left half wall at the cage. Lundqvist snags it. Crosby gives a whack to Lundqvist with his stick. McDonagh takes exception and gives Crosby a few shoves. Nothing comes of it.
0:09: Stempniak settles a puck and whips a puck from deep on the right wing on net. Lundqvist eats it up.
0:00: End of period. A shot by Malkin is deflected. A horn goes off. Kunitz jumps Dominic Moore as he gives Crosby a few "rabbit punch" cross checks to the back. Kunitz actually threw a left cross at him they fell to the ice. A near line brawl breaks out. It takes officials several minutes to break it up. The Rangers end up with a power play. Crosby gets a cross checking minor. Kunitz and Boyle each get roughing minors. Rangers 3, Penguins 1.
-That period started pretty level. Neither team really pressed things on offense or was all that aggressive. Slowly, the Rangers kind of started controlling t hings in the Penguins a little bit more and regained a two-goal lead. After that, the Rangers dominated play.
-As evidenced by that skirmish at the end of the period, Crosby's frustration is starting to bubble over. He'll have two minutes to calm at the start of the period.
-We would break up Martin and Letang. They have not been sharp the past two games.
-The Penguins' power play has once again been pretty flat. It's now for it's past 10 chances.
-We can recall a game where we've seen as many short-handed chances for both teams as we've seen tonight. Both squads are being aggressive with their penalty kill.
-The Penguins actually had a few quality chances that period. The only problem is they were from the likes of Goc and Gibbons and not Crosby or Malkin.
-The Penguins have a 26-25 lead in shots on net.
-The Penguins have a 42-38 lead in attempted shots.
-St. Louis leads the game with four shots.
-Niskanen and Bortuzzo each lead the Penguins with three shots.
-McDonagh leads the game with 17:19 of ice time.
-Martin leads the Penguins with 16:09.
-The Penguins have an 18-16 lead in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Goc is 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Dominic Moore is 4 for 5 (80 percent).
-Fire Ray Shero.
-Zuccarello leads the Rangers with three blocked shots.
-Sutter and Letang each lead the game with two blocked shots.
20:00: The Rangers will have two minutes of power-play time on fresh ice. A kill here is a must for the Penguins. Adams, Gibbons, Martin and Scuderi take the ice.
18:24: More "Flerrrr....Eeeeee..." chants.
18:00: As Crosby leaves the penalty box, John Moore chops a slapper which is blocked.
17:45: James Neal backhans a puck from the right wing which Lundqvist smothers.
17:20: Another penalty. Battling for a puck, Neal trips up Dominic Moore in the Rangers' right circle. That's two minutes. Goc, Scuderi, Gibbons, Martin take the ice.
16:23: A big break for the Penguins. Goc pus the puck up ice on the right wing and deals a cross ice pass to Letang. Letang cuts to the slot short-handed and is tripped up by Zuccarello. Letang takes a tumble and things are evened up. We'll see four-on-four play for 1:03.
15:45: Neal leaves the penalty box. The Penguins will have a power play for 57 seconds. A goal here is a must.
15:01: Niskanen spins with the puck at the center point and is called offsides. He slams his stick on the ice in front of an official and complains.
14:31: Niskanen cranks a one-timer from center point. Boyle leans down to block it.
14:25: As the Zuccarello minor expires, A one-timer by Niskanen from the right half wall is fought off by LUndqvist.
14:08: After a strong effort by Stepan to put the puck deep. Zuccarello has a prime chance above the blue paint and swipes it wide of the cage.
12:57: A wrister by Bortuzzo from the right point is snagged by Lundqvist.
12:29: Two chances in tight by Neal are rejected by Lundqvist.
11:22: Fleury comes through wit ha big save. After Scuderi loses a puck battle in the Rangers' right wing corner to Dominic Moore, Staal golfs a slapper from the left point. Fleury snags it.
9:03: Malkin swipes a loose puck from the slot wide of the cage.
8:24: Another penalty. Racing for a puck in the Penguins' right corner, Bennett clips Brassard in the face with a stick. That's two minutes for high sticking. Goc, Adams, Martin and Scuderi take the ice.
7:54: Richards snipes a wrister from the right point. Fleury kicks it it out.
7:30: Low in the left circle, McDonagh chips a puck wide of the cage.
7:17: Off a cross-ice pass, Stepan snaps off a one-timer which bounces off the near post. Yeesh.
6:23: The Bennett minor is killed.
5:50: Crosby has a shot from the right circle blocked by Staal.
5:08: A one-timer by Kunitz from above the right circle is snagged by Lundqvist. Neal exchanges a few pleasantries with Dominic Moore and Hagelin. Nothing comes of it.
4:38: Niskanen swipes a wrister from the right point which its a cluster of bodies. A scrum develops as Lundqvist smothers the rebound. Crosby gives a few shoves to Marc Staal.
2:31: Fleury is pulled for an extra attacker.
1:50: Hagelin races for a loose puck in the neutral zone and chops it down ice by a Penguins player juuust wide of the cage.
1:01: Martin chops a slapper from the right point wide of the cage.
0:31: Jokinen whacs a slapper form the center point. It hits a body or two. Lundqvist smothers it. Neal and Dominic Moore mix it up. Fans here offer "HEN-RIK! chants.
0:09: A wrister by Malkin from the right half wall is eaten up by Lundqvist as Kunitz gives a few swipes. Neal gets a 10-minute misconduct and leaves the ice.
0:00: End of game. A another scrum breaks out in the rangers' zone with Sutter and Kunitz in the middle of it. Officials take a few moments to break it up then allow the Rangers to celebrate. Rangers 3, Penguins 1.
-Disappointing? Yes. Distributing. Yes. Shocking? No. Not these Penguins in a season in which they have been inconsistent one a game-to-game basis. This result was typical of the 2013-14 Penguins.
-Another hallmark of these Penguins the last few seasons has been frustration. With things not going the Penguins' way, they melted down in the later stages of the game. The Rangers didn't go into outright troll mode like the Flyers, but they picked an needled at the Penguins to make their star players go crazy.
-For the most part, in the entire first round against the Blue Jackets and the early stages of this series, the Penguins have been able to keep their emotions in check. They started to bubble up in Game 5 and completely erupted in Game 6.
-Seeing James Neal get booted from the game. Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz were involved in plenty of their own penalties. The Rangers toyed with the Penguins' stars much of the night and drove them nuts.
-The power play was a big issue for the Penguins once again. It is now 0 for its past 11 chances. After the morning skate, Dan Bylsma talked about seeing a greater sense of attack from the power play. The only thing this power play attacked was any notion that it could present a threat to the Rangers.
-After showing a few signs of life in the middle parts of the series, the Crosby's game has gone back into a coma. He once against struggled with the puck. The frustration and his antics just topped off a terrible night for him.
-The Penguins need Neal to score. Neal has been largely ineffective most of this series. His primary value is as a goal scorer. Given that he's gone five games without a goal, his value has been very limited.
-Whatever the Penguins got out of a defensive pairing with Paul Martin and Kris Letang early in the series, it's been absent the past two games. We understand an injury to Brooks Orpik is playing a role in how the Penguins are using their defensemen, but Martin and Letang could stand to be broken up.
-Goaltending was a huge difference. Henrik Lundqvist stole goals. Marc-Andre Fleury didn't. The second Rangers goal by Carl Hagelin was very preventable. Fleury needed to to stop that goal at that moment in time. He didn't and the Penguins were trying to dig out of a hole the rest of the night.
-When the team's best scoring chances were short-handed breakaways for Marcel Goc and Brian Gibbons, that's not good. It just further illustrates the lack of impact by the Penguins' stars.
-Back to Lunqvist, he stole those goals from Goc and Gibbons. He was a big reason the Rangers pulled this out.
-If there's a "good part" of this, it's that the Rangers can't be expected to replicate the same emotion in Game 7 as they experienced in Games 5 and 6 in the wake of Martin St. Louis' situation. They'll still be pretty amped but they won't be at the same level.
-For someone who wasn't 100 percent, Olli Maatta was okay. He only really made one mistake which led to a scoring chance for St. Louis but beyond that, Maatta played a mostly clean game.
-Whatever Ray Shero does this offseason, one of his priorities should be to re-sign Dominic Moore if, for no other season, to prevent him from playing the Penguins in the playoffs. Moore always seems to have an impact against them.
-The Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello-Benoit Pouliot line struck again. Like Brassard said, "We just play."
-The Penguins led in shots on net, 37-29.
-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 68-51.
-Neal led the game with seven shots.
-St. Louis and Pouliot each led the Rangers with four shots.
-Ryan McDonagh led the game with 26:11 of ice time.
-Martin led the Penguins with 26:07.
-The Penguins led in faceoffs, 31-23 (57 percent).
-Crosby was 13 for 18 (68 percent).
-Moore was 6 for 10 (60 percent).
-Marc Staal led the game with five blocked shots.
-Matt Niskanen, Maatta, Martin, Brandon Sutter and Letang each led the Penguins with two shots.