The lack of effort in the first period by this team was pathetic. The Pens have improved quite a bit since the last time the Rangers played them. Hence, their 8-0-1 mark entering play needing a win to tie the Devils for a share of the division lead.
However, with the Blueshirts coming off a solid 4-1 home win over the Canadiens which was their first of 2008, you would've expected them to come out with a little more fire. There was just nothing! It was embarrassing. That's one word to describe this team. Does anyone see it drastically changing when Sean Avery returns? I got news for ya. He's not Superman and this isn't last year.
I have my doubts. There's zero consistency. Just look how easy the Pens' three goals were. First one, Evgeni Malkin comes off the wall and nobody covers for Marek Malik as the second-year Russian snaps one past Henrik Lundqvist.
The second goal, Sidney Crosby breezes past Martin Straka and two D and then the great Henrik allows an awful rebound which an unchecked Malkin is allowed to stuff home for his second of the night. I think it was Marc Staal and Daniel Girardi who watched.
So, the Pens score two quick ones. Take a timeout. Right? Not Tom Renney! He's lost it. Instead, let's wait for this undisciplined team to take two straight penalties leading to a bomb of a one-timer from Sergei Gonchar off a 5-on-3. Oh. And the best part was the Pens wasted no time. Just like our great PP which passes and passes and passes...You'll be seeing pucks overpassed in your nightmares if you root for the Rangers.
Still no timeout. Well, at least Colton Orr stood in there against the league's toughest enforcer Georges Laraque on the game's opening shift.
That was it. When Malik, who is the slowest skating defenseman on the team is the only blueliner skating with any purpose, you got issues.
This team is in serious trouble. Especially when Ted Nolan continues to squeeze whatever he can out of a hungrier Islander team which somehow got three points in Calgary and Vancouver and also beat Ottawa last night to stay a couple of points ahead of the Blueshirts for eighth with less games played.
When does the Ranger organization take notice? When do we hear anything from Glen Sather? I'm waiting.