Disappointment Continues, Rangers Drop Game Three

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After a horrifying effort in game two at the Consol Energy Center, the New York Rangers’ main goal for game three was to feed off the energy from their fans, and try to regain the series lead.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, neither of those things happened tonight, as they dropped their first game on home ice in the series by a score of 2-0. It’s safe to say that the hometown fans weren’t happy, as New York was serenaded by boos as they left the ice when the final buzzer sounded.

Crosby breaks through 

After a lengthy goal drought (14 games) the Pittsburgh Penguins captain finally netted a goal tonight after a defensive miscue by the Rangers. A nice stretch pass out of the Penguins’ defensive zone caught the Blueshirts’ defense napping, and Crosby skated in on a partial break and fired one through Henrik Lundqvist’s five hole.

It was bound to happen, with a player having that much skill, it was only a matter of time before he cashed in on one of his opportunities.

Jussi Jokinen, after serving a two-minute minor, followed in Crosby’s footsteps, scoring the second goal of the game for the Penguins. Mats Zuccarello made an uncharacteristic no-look pass as the powerplay was expiring, the puck missed Brad Richards and Jokinen was able to cruise in and score blocker side on Lundqvist.

Power-play still struggling

The Rangers’ play with the man advantage has been a focal point throughout the playoffs, and their faults continued in tonight’s game. Although it looked better and they generated chances, they still did not cash in on Pittsburgh’s undisciplined play, and finished the night 0-for-5.

I’m sure head coach Alain Vigneault will be scratching his head as he frantically searches for answers to cure his team’s struggles on the powerplay.

Marc-Andre Fleury carried over his play from game two and put forth another strong performance tonight on the road. He ended with 35 saves, and has shutout the Rangers for 120 consecutive minutes.

With all due respect to Fleury, the Rangers did not really challenge him much tonight. Sure, he was forced to make a good save here and there, but none really stood out in my mind as “fantastic” or “game-changing.” Simply put, New York did not get enough traffic in front of him, as he saw almost every shot that was propelled his way.

Looking ahead 

Both teams now get tomorrow off as the series resumes on Wednesday for game four from Madison Square Garden (7:30 pm puck drop).

It’s safe to say that is the game that will make or break the Rangers’ season. If they can’t find a way to get to another gear and grind out a win, they will most likely be watching the rest of the postseason from the comfort of their homes.

However, the Rangers are still very much in this series, one strong performance knots it at two games a piece, and makes it a best-of-three.

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