New York Rangers challenge in Game 2 will be getting on the power play against Penguins

NY Rangers
May 3, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) celebrates his goal with center Mika Zibanejad (93) during the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins in game one of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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One power play. That’s it!

That’s all the New York Rangers were given in a game that lasted over four and half hours. A first period slashing penalty to Teddy Blueger 8:58 into the first period, which resulted in an Adam Fox goal. From that point on… zilch!

One power play for one of the NHL’s top team’s on the man advantage in a home game that lasted almost six periods? Something doesn’t seem right there.

Forget about the numerous slashes Sidney Crosby dished out to Rangers players like Alexis Lafrenière. Don’t worry about Jake Guentzel inexplicably shoving K’Andre Miller’s helmet over his eyes after the whistle from behind. He did this not once, but twice! All in front of referee Chris Lee.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Penguins were put on the power play twice in the first period. The first time on an interference call to Patrik Nemeth and then a roughing call to Ryan Lindgren, which was basically for hitting someone too hard.

That was followed by the Rangers being given two penalties within a span of 77 seconds late in the second period. One being a questionable boarding call to Jacob Trouba and led to Pittsburgh scoring on the ensuing 5 on 3 advantage.

It was a crucial call on Trouba because the Rangers just took a 3-2 lead on the first penalty, thanks to a Chris Kreider shorthanded goal.

Then the refs swallowed the whistle for the four remaining periods.

“There probably should’ve been a couple of calls made when you look back,” Gerard Gallant said Wednesday. “We’re not going to complain. Obviously disappointed they got that 5 on 3. That wasn’t the difference in the hockey game.”

New York Rangers need more power plays

NY Rangers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

“You get momentum from the power play,” Frank Vatrano said. “It’d be nice to get a few more but our 5 on 5 game needs to be better.”

The Rangers are going to need more than just one power play in a game but they won’t be easy to draw.

During the regular season, Pittsburgh was the second least penalized team in the NHL (Dallas Stars were the least). The Penguins averaged just a hair over 3 minors per game, in comparison the Rangers, who were around 3.5 penalties a game.

Here’s another problem, Pittsburgh draws more penalties than the Rangers do by a rate of 3.66 to 3.44. This only becomes more problematic in a head-to-head matchup against a team that doesn’t get penalized.

If they are hoping for the referees to call a penalty on Sidney Crosby for whacking players arms and legs, you can forget it!

The key for the Rangers is to use their speed to draw penalties.

It’s time for New York to show why they are considered the faster team in this series and use their legs. The Penguins are banged up, which was only made worse by the heavy checking by players like Ryan Reaves in Game 1.

That’s going to eventually wear on the Pittsburgh blue-line and should lead to a few more hooks, holds, and trips.


Louis Domingue starts, DeSmith and Rakell out

The Rangers will get a full game to crack and take advantage of Louis Domingue as Casey DeSmith has been ruled out for Game 2.

“He’s an NHL goalie, he’s played a significant amount of games at this level, and he’s shown an ability to have success,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “Depth in all the positions is so critically important at this time of year. We’re living it right now.”

Domingue, 30, was 1-1 this season with a GAA of 2.02 and a .952 SV%. For his career, he’s 59-60-10 and sports a 3.04 GAA with a .905SV%.

Rickard Rakell has also been ruled out after being level by Ryan Lindgren during the first period of Game 1. Forward Jason Zucker is a game-time decision.

New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins Series

15/3/22NYRPIT4-3 PIT (3OT) 
25/5/22NYRPIT7:00 PM ET 
35/7/22PIT NYR7:00 PM ET 
45/9/22PIT NYR7:00 PM ET 
5* 5/11/22NYRPITTBD 
6* 5/13/22PIT NYRTBD 
7* 5/15/22NYRPITTBD 
Penguins Lead Series (1-0)
*If Necessary

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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