Penguins Lead Series 3-1
I - NYR 3; PITT 2*
II - PITT 4; NYR 1
III - PITT 3; NYR 0
IV - PITT 2; NYR 0
V - PITT 4; NYR 2
VI - FRIDAY @ PITT
NEW YORK RANGERS: I'll Reserve Judgement Until ....
How on earth do teams play so miserably in such high stakes games? No matter what team you root for, we've all been there. The short answer, is, that's sports. But, ask Rangers fans, and the conversation takes a radical turn.
Brutal play..., like Ryan McDonagh said, in every aspect of their game.... Game Four was by far their worst performance of the playoffs.
Brutal play in the defensive zone, brutal play in the offensive zone, and particularly brutal play in the neutral zone. - just brutal.
The Rangers only managed 15 shots on goal, they only won 18 face offs (vs. 31 by PITT), and turned the puck over 25 times.
And yes, Rick Nash got what he earned, which is different from "what he deserves". I'm no one's ruler, and do not get to decide who deserves what. Nash, however, earned the fan's ire Wednesday night. A terrible turnover which directly led to a Pittsburgh goal, finally put everyone over the top. Nash had four more shots in Game Four, which brings his total to 45 shots without a goal.
Truth is, that Nash went this long without catching hell shows how patient the fans have been with him. Better players have gotten boo'd in this town for less.
The question still warrants asking - Where are the team's top players? Nash, Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards.... are not getting it done. Derek Stepan, who held out for his money, is not getting it done. It was Mats Zuccarello, and Carl Hagelin again, each scoring their 3rd goal of the playoffs, respectively.
Speaking of Hagelin, as much as McDonagh's pass, it was Hagelin's speed which led to his 2nd period goal - something the Rangers have been ineffective utilizing with the absence of Chris Krieder. His return is unfortunately too little too late. On the other side, Speed is something the Rangers are getting torched by. Just ask Marc Staal.
And, then there's the power play, that Alain Vigneault was brought in to improve. It is now 0 for its last 36 opportunities, and 3 for 48 (.06%) for the playoffs.
I can't wait to say what I really feel.