Never critique a win, well….(NYR 2 v PIT 1)

McDonagh and Yandle celebrate a PP goal in gm vs. Pit  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

McDonagh and Yandle celebrate a PP goal in gm vs. Pit (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Electricity was running though the building and on people’s wrists as the playoff giveaway was a light up bracelet.  The New York Rangers got off to a fast start last night at Madison Square Garden, lighting the scoreboard just 28 seconds in.

From the drop of the puck, it looked like the Rangers were going to blow the doors off a decimated Penguins lineup. Rick Nash took a blast from the left side and Derick Brassard beat his defender to the rebound to grab a 1-0 lead.

[su_quote cite=”ESPN” url=””]”I think it’s a privilege to start the game. I thought the five guys on the ice, we did a good job to get our team going,” Brassard said. “I give a lot of credit to Rick [Nash]. He didn’t shoot to score there. He shot for a rebound. He did it on purpose. I was just right there for the rebound.”[/su_quote]

Pittsburgh played a sloppy first period filled with silly penalties. Four infractions to be exact, and it was on the third one of the period that Ryan McDonagh blasted it by Marc-Andre Fleury to put the home team up 2-0.

Then the Rangers legs went missing for all of the 2nd period. Many were crediting the Penguins for slowing the game down with some clutching and grabbing. Others cited that Evgeni Malkin came alive. Both are somewhat true but in honesty it was more about what the Rangers stopped doing than anything the Penguins did.

[su_quote cite=”NHL” url=””]”We were good in the first period, had the puck a lot, made some great plays, and we were able draw lot of penalties,” Staal said. “It was definitely a good start to the hockey game. They started getting a little closer to us in the second and third. They did a better job in the neutral zone and we weren’t getting as many breaks as we did in the first period. They kept it close, but we hung on.”[/su_quote]

NYR v PIT (Rd1 Gm1 NHL)

NYR v PIT (Rd1 Gm1 NHL)

It really does seem trivial to complain about a game the Rangers were in control of regardless of the score. Still, this is the playoffs where more goals are scored off of weird bounces then at any other time of the year.

Keeping any team within reach is a recipe for disaster and that’s why in Game 2, the Rangers need to come out twice as hard and put this Penguins team down. Pittsburgh scrapped and clawed to stay in it yesterday and the Rangers obliged by not skating as hard for the final 40 minutes.

The psyche of this Penguins squad is fragile and ready to be crushed. Making them believe that if you eliminate yesterday’s first period, they actually won the game 1-0 is not helping. The Rangers need to find that killer instinct Saturday and send a firm message to the Penguins that Game 1 wasn’t as close as they might’ve believed.



Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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