Saturday, April 23, 2016

Time to finish this series in five

By: MF,

A huge day for Pittsburgh hockey as the Pittsburgh Penguins prepare for Game 5 against the New York Rangers at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins have a 3-1 series lead over the Rangers and can eliminate them with a win, today, to move onto the Second Round of the National Hockey League (NHL) Playoffs. The Penguins are 9-3 all-time when they lead a series 3-1.

However, it will not be an easy task as the Rangers will be in desperation mode with their season and chance of winning the Stanley Cup at stake. Memories of last season come to mind as the Penguins were in the same situation last year, but that ended with the Rangers winning three in a row to move on and end the Penguins playoff run. This was a learning experience for those Penguin players that still remain. Captain Sidney Crosby’s biggest takeaway from that series was to make sure that the team’s desperation level is where it needs to be for today’s game. As for Head Coach Mike Sullivan (HCMS), the past is in the past. He wants the team looking forward. HCMS stated that this group is completely different and they are not going to let old ghost haunt them.

The Penguins have been getting able to win with a great netminder to back the team up. Matt Murray has been exceptional the last two games. He became the youngest goalie in Penguins history to start and win a playoff game. Murray also became the Penguins first rookie goalie to record a postseason shutout. With this two postseason wins he joins Les Binley (four wins in 1970) and Frank Pietrangelo (two wins in 1991) as goalies in Penguins history to win their first two playoff starts. Murray did admit to having nerves at the start of each game, but it has helped him to have veteran teammate Marc-Andre Fleury around to help him through such times.

With Murray holding down the fort in net, the Penguins offense has been doing their part. For starters, Evgeni Malkin is getting his groove back. In Thursday’s game, Malkin had a four-point net (2nd career four-point playoff game). Under HCMS, the power play is 23.6% with Malkin. Malkin also joined the top five Pittsburgh all-time playoff goal scorers coming in fifth with 44 goals. Crosby holds third with 46 goals and of course, Mario Lemieux sits at the top with 76 goals. In addition, the Penguins are getting production from their other lines. Conor Sheary scored his first NHL playoff goal in Game four while Eric Fehr’s game-winning-goal in the same game was the first of his NHL playoff career.

The Penguins will have to stay focus, play smart, put pucks on net, and keep the pressure on the Rangers. They have to meet the desperation level of the Rangers and put them down early. Time to finish this series in five! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:



Murray in the net! 

Play by Play
PENS 6 Rangers 3

3rd Period

3:29 - First line for the Pens get some offensive zone time, which was the most they have had this period.

6:28 - Rangers are dumping the puck in or trying to skate with the puck into the zone, but the Pens are clearing well. For the times they don't clear, Murray is there to hold off the pucks.

8:46 - The Pens are playing defense right now. Murray is having to make some huge saves as the Rangers are throwing everything at the net.

11:19 - Murray with another big save on a knuckler by Yandle and saves the second chance.

11:57 - The Pens get a 3 on 2 chance, but Giradi makes a sliding play to break up the play.

12:54 - Murray with a huge save on Kreider. The Rangers are getting some quality chances on net.

14:00 - Rangers out shooting the Pens 9-1 in the third.

14:22 - Diaz scores on the power play. Diaz fires from the point again and is able to put this one past Murray. 6-3 Pens

14:57 - Murray makes a huge on a shot from Diaz at the point with Nash in front.

15:02 - Kessel sits in the box as Murray is called for tripping and the Rangers head onto the power play. Another huge penalty kill for the Pens.

15:14 - Murray holds strong as Hayes cuts across the goal mouth trying to put one in.

16:51 - The Pens defense is doing a good job of keeping the Rangers from getting quality chances. Rangers don't seem to have the same jump in their step as the first period.

19:58 - Raanta will replace Lundqvist for the third period.

20:00 - Time for the third period! The Pens have to keep up the pressure as the Rangers will be beyond desperate! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - Second period ends and the Pens have the 6-2 lead over the Rangers!

0:58 - RUST SCORES! Malkin forces a turnover! Malkin and Rust get a 2 on 1 chance! Malkin goes over to Rust who puts one past the glove of Lundqvist! 6-2 Pens

1:28 - Consol is full of energy and this crowd is going nuts. Taunting Lundqvist, cheering, and having fun. Great energy for the Pens.

2:06 - Crosby has been all over the ice today.

3:42 - SHEARY SCORES! Crosby fights off M.Staal and gets a pass across to Sheary in the slot area! Sheary fires a laser shot past the glove of Lundqvist! 5-2 Pens

3:54 - The Pens kill it! Murray was huge in net and the defense in front was on it.

5:54 - Rangers to the power play as Sheary sits for high-sticking.

6:46 - Zuccarello is stopped point blank by Murray. The Pens collapse and Murray is able to cover the loose puck.

7:34 - Rangers kill off the Pens power play.

8:50 - Crosby rings one off the post!

9:34 - Moore heads to the box and the Pens onto the power play.

10:34 - CULLEN SCORES! The Pens lift the puck out of their zone and Rust goes flying down the ice! He battles and the Ranger coughs up the puck! Cullen follows to pick up the loose puck and fire it past Lundqvist! 4-2 Pens

11:12 - Murray with a solid pad save on a deflected shot.

14:39 - RUST SCORES! Cullen goes back to Daley who is cutting across! Daley makes a shot/pass to Rust at the side of the net! Rust puts it in the open net! 3-2 Pens

16:35 - Daley with a shot that is loose in the blue paint. Crosby tries to get a stick on it, but Rangers fall down along with Lundqvist to protect the net. What a close one for the Pens.

17:11 - Malkin fires a shot while falling down that is saved by Lundqvist.

19:33 - Kreider rips a quick shot on net, but Murray's glove is faster. He holds for the whistle.

20:00 - Second period is underway! The Pens need to come out with speed and take control of this one! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - First period ends and this one is tied 2-2.

1:03 - Shots are 14-10 in favor of the Rangers. However, the Pens are starting to take control.

2:44 - Letang and Nash are released. Both teams back to full strength.

3:35 - Crosby with two great chances. One hits the post and the other is stopped by Lundqvist. Sheary and Crosby are clicking well.

4:44 - We will get some 4 on 4 hockey as Letang and Nash get matching minors for slashing.

5:18 - Successful penalty kill for the Pens! Murray was solid.

7:18 - Now the Rangers will get a chance on the power play as Malkin heads to the sin bin for tripping. Huge penalty kill for the Pens.

8:21 - KESSEL SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Crosby finds Kessel entering the zone with speed! Kessel is in alone and snipes one top shelf! 2-2 tie game

9:18 - Skjei sits for boarding and the Pens will get the first power play of the game.

9:25 - Rangers score. Murray makes the first save on a Ranger shot, but the puck is loose in front. Hornqvist comes crashing with his guy, but the puck bounces off his skate and into the net. 2-1 Rangers

10:10 - HAGELIN SCORES! Hagelin passes behind the net over to Kessel then goes to the far post! Kessel finds Hagelin, who directs the puck past the toe of Lundqvist! 1-1 tie game

10:28 - Sheary does some good defensive work to keep the Rangers from forming an odd-man situation.

12:49 - Kuhnhackl gets a quality chance on Lundqvist, but is unable to put it past the netminder.

13:09 - Starting to see a bit of a push by the Pens. They get some time in the offensive zone, which they haven't really see much of yet.

15:33 - Pens are on their heels, but they need to weather the storm. Nothing new for them. They need to gather themselves and push back.

17:24 - The start of this one has been all Rangers. They have come to play and with speed. Pens need to bounce back.

18:58 - Nash scores. Girardi fires from the blue line and Nash is able to get a stick on it to deflect it past Murray. 1-0 Rangers

20:00 - The puck has dropped at Consol! The Pens have to put the pressure on the Rangers early and match the desperation level of the Rangers! Time to finish this in five! Lets Go Pens! 

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