Matt Murray was the goalie for the Penguins last night.
Somewhere in the back of their minds, they know the similarities between the 3-1 hole they are in now in the best-of-seven first-round series against the Penguins, and the 3-1 holes they have climbed out of in the previous two postseasons. One of the goals for the Rangers was overturned because the Penguins challenged it.
Meanwhile, Sheary’s goal in the first period was one to remember, and although Pittsburgh would go on to light the lamp three more times, the impressive play and finish by the youngster put a dagger in the Rangers’ disappointing first period.
His first goal, which gave the Penguins a 4-0 lead, forced Lundqvist from the game.
As the period went on, the Penguins were wondering the pound and trap game of the Rangers was getting to them, along with the team chemistry of Malkin returning to the lineup.
Nash still gave NY the lead early in the second period, but the Penguins took control when Crosby tied the game and Cullen scored early in the third to give them the lead. Therefore, Murray has a save percentage of.979 and a goals against average of 0.50 in the two games he has played thus far. Pittsburgh also earned a victory of sorts off the ice Wednesday when the National Hockey League decided not to punish star defenseman Kris Letang for a high-sticking incident that knocked out some teeth from New York’s Viktor Stalberg.
Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta stopped 13 of 14 shots after relieving Henrik Lundqvist midway through the second period. Having given up a goal just 1:09 into Game 4, a fast, productive start Saturday for the Rangers is crucial.
Credit needs to be given to Penguins’ goaltender Matt Murray. After the Game 2 loss, fans and the media alike doubted whether Malkin would fit into Mike Sullivan’s system.
And Lundqvist began that process immediately after the disappointment of Game 4. “So just gotta deal with it and focus on the next game”.
While the Penguins were making the right decisions the Rangers were making very wrong ones, as evident on Malkin’s second goal.
Considering the circumstances, Thursday night’s game could easily be No. 1.
In game four, nine players had points in the game from guys like Malkin and Crosby to guys like Conor Sheary and Eric Fehr.
The defense is supposed to be this team’s pride, joy and signature, but the Rangers were giving up the blue line very early in this game. “We have to win the next game and go from there”. “I think we took a good step here tonight”.
“We kept saying it, we kept trying to tell ourselves – we have to lay in and shoot it”, said Ranger captain Ryan McDonagh. This time around, Pittsburgh’s best players are playing like it while at the same time exhibiting the ability to play a suffocating style of defence if needed, a trait that has been foreign to previous Penguins teams.
Like the 2012 Rangers, these Penguins block a lot of shots. “Whether it be breaking out of our end, going through the neutral zone or once we got in their end, we just didn’t make enough plays. Simple as that.I don’t need to say more than that”.
Maybe success comes from holding true to what you believe is your own best way. The Rangers, as they have been for most of the series, were second on pucks, second in desperation/urgency and most importantly, second on the scoreboard for the whole night.
It’s the same spot they were in two years ago, when they played the Rangers in the 2014 Eastern Conference Second Round.