King Henrik Left On The Guillotine Once Again; Rangers Fall To Penguins 5-2

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Here is our recap of the Rangers 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Michael Grabner – After the Pens took a 1-0 lead on Patric Hornqvist’s goal, Michael Grabner made something happen for the Blueshirts and evened the score at one. Grabner intercepted a pass at the blue line, came down on a breakaway, and beat Tristan Jarry with a beautiful backhand shot into the roof of the net. Grabner scored his team-leading 19th of the year and has been one of the lone bright spots for Alain Vigneault’s squad. With the Rangers having stagnated a bit lately, and not competing for Lord Stanley’s Cup this year, they should look to sell high on the Austrian winger.

Brendan Smith – It’s been a disappointing season for the Mimico, Ontario native, but he had one of his better games of the year against the division rivals. Smith gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead after some great work by the fourth line.

Then, in the second period, after Ryan Reaves knocked down Marc Staal, Smith returned the favor to Reaves and fought Jamie Oleksiak. Smith certainly has not lived up to his new contract he signed over the summer. But this was a nice game for #42 in the red, white and blue.

Oh Defense, Wherefore Art Thou? – The Rangers have struggled mightily this season in their own end, and it reared it’s ugly head once again in the Steel City. The Blueshirts lead the NHL with 609 giveaways, almost 40 more than the second-ranked team in the category. Only three giveaways in this one, but Kevin Shattenkirk’s soft turnover in the second period gave Phil Kessel his 20th goal of the year and the game-winner against the Blueshirts.

Putting the turnovers aside, the Rangers allowed 47, you read that right, 47, shots on net. This was the 31st time this season, and fifteenth consecutive game giving up more than 30 shots. If the Rangers have any hopes of getting into the playoffs, which seems unlikely with their recent play, but if they do sneak into the postseason, they will have to clamp down on the chances against.

Henrik Lundqvist – The only reason this team is in the position they are in is because of their All-Star goaltender. Lundqvist had to stand on his head for long stretches of this game but got little to no help from the guys in front of him. Lundqvist had a few nice save sequences, like this one in the second period, but he isn’t paid to score goals. He’s paid to stop them. Henrik has kept his team in contention this season, and it’s time for the guys in front of him to return the favor.

Next Game: The Blueshirts host the Flyers on Tuesday night in hopes of getting back on track. Puck drops at 7!


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