The Blue Jackets couldn’t ultimately beat the Penguins in their first-round series, but the New York Rangers are thankful for what the upstarts from Columbus showed in pushing Pittsburgh to six games.
“We had a chance to see the way they played, and the way Columbus [brought] their game to them,” Rangers forward Derick Brassard said, per the New York Post. “We can learn a lot from the way Columbus put everything behind the defensemen, made them defend. They forechecked very hard, they didn’t pass up many shots. That’s something that we’re going to try to do.”
We mentioned yesterday in PHT Extra that the Penguins didn’t exactly shut up their critics in beating the Jackets. Marc-Andre Fleury had some tough moments, and the players in front of him didn’t always play well either, particularly when Pittsburgh held a lead.
That being said, the Penguins were absolutely deserving of beating Columbus. The stats illustrate how badly they dominated in puck possession, and for all we heard about Sidney Crosby not scoring a goal, he still managed 19 shots and six assists.
“We’re meeting an elite team,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who joked he “popped a blood vessel” in his eye watching all the tape of the Pens-Jackets series.
“We know coming into this series that for us to have a chance against such a good team, we’re going to have to find another level – another level of execution, another level of compete. That’s how good these guys are.”