There are no silver linings. Not any Kenny Albert! You're our radio broadcaster but don't undermine a frustrated fanbase by accentuating positives. "Well, they beat Ottawa and got a big point against Pittsburgh." You gotta be joking. Nobody wants to hear that Jazzy Jim nonsense. Loser mentality. That's why we'll never win as long as that clown is involved. That goes for the other laughingstock as well. Have fun chasing the LeBron tooth fairy after you got pissed on literally.
Truth be told, it wasn't a bad game. Not when our guys got in Crosby's face flustering him the first two periods. That early shift where Brandon Dubinsky got in his face along with Henrik Lundqvist was great stuff. Heck. He even took an undisciplined penalty that led to Dubinsky's career best 15th on the power play, steering the Rangers in front by a pair. At one point, the MSG hosts went from 2-1 down to scoring three straight, giving the building life. Partially due to Marc-Andre Fleury being a sieve. He allowed four goals on 12 shots, giving up a couple of softies to Artem Anisimov (left circle) and the Dubinsky right circle blast which caromed off the post and the discheveled Pens' netminder. Even Michal Rozsival's go-ahead tally off a beautifully executed three-on-two with Vinny Prospal and Olli Jokinen was from a tough angle. Though it was a halitzer that popped the water bottle. Not bad for a guy who never hits the net. Both his goals have come versus his ex-team 38 games apart.
It was finally Dubi's which ended Fleury's night. A wise decision by Dan Bylsma that sparked his team. It's not like they were playing poorly. They had outshot the Rangers like 29 or 30-12 but trailed by two because the hosts were opportunistic without leading scorer Marian Gaborik. Anisimov's 10th came only 2:17 in off a simple wrist shot. But two consecutive penalties got them in trouble with the Pens finally cashing in at the end of a 5-on-3 when Chris Kunitz rebounded home a Sergei Gonchar shot that deflected off Jordan Staal right to him. Staal got another bounce when his backhand went in off a Ranger skate for a 2-1 lead. The goal was made possible by an absolutely brutal Sean Avery turnover. Instead of shooting, he overpassed allowing Staal to come the other way. .
Before you knew it, shots were 13-3. Despite the territorial edge, they couldn't widen the gap. Instead, a Brooks Orpik trip put the Blueshirts on the power play. Right after a break in which an announcement on the scoreboard congratulated all the Olympians with plenty of boos for Crosby, Chris Drury appropriately scored a Drury-type goal from in front. With his back to Fleury, he got to a Mike Del Zotto rebound and backhanded his 11th in from his knees. Jokinen added the first of two helpers. For Drury, who's struggled all season to find the touch, it was nice to see because he played his butt off- helping Team USA earn silver along with Ryan Callahan. Hopefully, we'll see more from the captain down the stretch.
The feistiness continued with Callahan taking exception to a Evgeni Malkin late shot as the buzzer sounded, leading to another get together with a childish slash from Geno while Cally went back at him. Each received matching minors. The second started with wide open four-on-four which figured to favor the more skilled guests. But after Lundqvist denied a couple of pointblank chances including a sharp kickout of a low Crosby shot, the Rangers came the other way and scored thanks to splendid passing from Jokinen and Prospal to a cutting Rozsival, who went upstairs on Fleury 2:03 in for a 3-2 lead. Momentum continued when a frustrated Sid The Kid took a bad high sticking penalty. Following a couple of close calls shorthanded by Staal, the Rangers connected when Dubinsky took a Rozsival pass and fired his 15th which caromed off the post and Fleury, finally chasing him.
So, how did the Rangers treat Brent Johnson? Well, after he looked awfully shaky on a long high shot that went over his net, they barely tested him, registering only four shots the rest of the way. That included OT! Embarrassing. A journeyman goalie best known for a playoff record three straight shutouts with the Blues was treated with more respect than Martin Brodeur. This was brutal. Johnson may as well have been on vacation in a rocking chair with bikini-clad women bringing him drinks. Unbelievable. Instead, they decided to get cute. One of this team's problems has been overpassing. It reared its ugly head again when Prospal opted to try a low percentage centering feed which caromed off the boards, allowing the Pens to rush the other way and score. Why not a simple sharp angle tester? Maybe Johnson lets out a rebound. Well, they got what they deserved with Crosby setting up Ranger killer Mike Rupp on a two-on-one. One Lundqvist admittedly wished he had. What is it about that slug? He had a hat trick on us too. Disgusting.
Predictably, the big goal allowed the Pens to stay within one and then absolutely humiliate the Rangers in an uncompetitive third in which SOG were
Lundqvist- who finished with a career high 50 saves- did everything possible to try to steal it. He made unreal saves including an amazing glove off a Malkin laser labeled. The stuff you dream of. Sadly, his teammates couldn't take the pressure off. Oh. They tried but just couldn't clear the zone to save their life. A Ranger trademark. And when they did reach center ice, nobody was good enough to get the puck deep and make the Pens come 200 feet. Eventually, the much more talented team got it tied when another bad break went against Lundqvist. This time, an Alex Goligoski pass from a far left angle went off a Ranger and in. Crosby was in the vicinity but never touched it. It didn't matter. The game was over. As soon as that clown Larry danced with five and a half left, I picked up and headed down. He's such a jinx. They get scored on or lose so much whenever they show him. That's the Rangers. Anything but WINNING.
The game went to OT and in it, came a gift of a call when they deemed Wade Redden's hook in the neutral zone enough to hand the Pens the game. An absolutely horrific call by programmed refs who probably wanted to help Pitt win. I don't take any satisfaction in saying that but that's how it felt. Tried as they did and oh. Drury or Callahan, Staal and either Rozsival or Dan Girardi gave it everything. It wasn't enough because eventually a seeing eye Malkin shot was redirected home by Staal for the predictable winner with 78 seconds left.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 5 Rangers 4 SOG: 55-16 including 40-8 final 43:42...but they got a point...Exposed.
BONY 3 Stars:
3rd Star-Chris Drury, NYR (11th of season-PPG)
2nd Star-Jordan Staal, Pit (2 goals incl.OT winner plus assist)