New York Rangers embarrassing defense puts them in 3-1 hole to Penguins

Things started off well for the New York Rangers. Alexis Lafrenière scored his first playoff goal early in the first period and it looked like a big night was in store.

Then with all the momentum on their side, another awful penalty by defenseman Patrik Nemeth led to the Pittsburgh Penguins first goal. What ensued from there was some of the most embarrassing displays of defensive hockey this team has shown all season.

When it was all done, the Blueshirts inexperience and inability to handle momentum swings in this series are on full display.

Now the team has no room for error with the next loss meaning they will be out of the playoffs.

“We were not good enough tonight,” Jacob Trouba said. “We have to forget it, go home and do what we can to win a Game 5.”

Recap: Penguins 7 vs Rangers 2

The Rangers best line was probably the Kids Line, which is great news for the team’s future but not so much for this series.

Alexis Lafrenière called for the puck in the slot from Braden Schneider. He waltzed in a snapped it by Louis Domingue for a 1-0 lead just 2:06 into the game.

With the team pumped from the early marker, they controlled play and were trying to close in on their second goal. That was until Patrik Nemeth happened…again.

The 30 year-old defenseman, whose playoff experience was supposed to be a plus, took an inexplicable high stick penalty that led to Sidney Crosby’s power play goal.

Nemeth has taken four penalties through four games in this series and has a rating of -4. Should Ryan Lindgren be ready to play in Game 5 on Wednesday, it would behoove Gerard Gallant to keep Justin Braun in the lineup instead.

Rangers embarrassing in their own zone

May 9, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Jake Guentzel (59) and right wing Bryan Rust (17) celebrate a goal by Guentzel against the New York Rangers during the second period in game four of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The second period was the start of the Rangers defensive Gong-Show that saw the Penguins score three times before Adam Fox interrupted Pittsburgh’s fun.

Prior to Fox’s goal, Mike Matheson and Jake Guentzel scored 24 seconds apart under four minutes in. That was followed by a Mark Friedman tally at the 11:02 mark.

Igor Shesterkin, who looks absolutely rattled and unsure of himself in net, gave up two more goals to Danton Heinen and Jeff Carter.

“It was not on [Shesterkin] at all,” Andrew Copp said. “It’s going to be up to every guy to pull together and do what we can to win Game 5.”

The third period saw Alexandar Georgiev replace Shesterkin for the second consecutive night, after giving up 6 on 30 shots.

Evgeni Malkin capped the scoring at the 12:22 mark and the Penguins have a 3-1 stranglehold on the series.

Georgiev finished the game with 10 saves.

“Total team disappointment,” Gallant said. “Inexperienced? I’d use not committed to playing the right way.”

A Game 5 Do Or Die is set for Wednesday night at 7 PM ET.

Rangers Notes

  • Alexis Lafrenière recorded his first career playoff goal.
  • Braden Schneider notched his second playoff assist.
  • Adam Fox registered a goal but was also a -3

Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 10): Practice at MSG Training Center (1:00 PM ET)

Next Game: Wednesday, May 11 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Game 5 (7:00 PM ET – TV: MSG, ESPN)

*Schedule subject to change

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