If Henrik Lundqvist’s reaction to a 2-0 loss in Game 3 represents the rest of the locker room, the New York Rangers’ mood could be described as “positive, if puzzled.”
The Rangers carried much of the play (including firing 35 shots to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 15) in Monday’s defeat, yet they couldn’t get the job done. Lundqvist expressed some mixed emotions after the game, as New York Newsday’s Steve Zipay reports.
“I’m sitting here trying to figure out how we lost this game,” Lundqvist said. “We did a lot of good things. It’s not over.”
There are plenty of reasons why the Rangers lost, even if they played well during significant stretches of this game.
Sidney Crosby finally scored and the Penguins nailed both of their biggest breakaway opportunities. Marc-Andre Fleury was both fantastic and lucky. There’s also the fatigue factor that Alain Vigneault & Co. finally acknowledged after the game. (One may also point to that squalid power play, too …)
Vigneault agreed that his team played well and hopes they can carry that over into Game 4:
It has to be deflating to fall down 2-1 in a 48-hour period after gutting out a Game 1 win on short rest, but Lundqvist is correct: the Rangers are still very much in this series. They could even things up at 2-2 in Game 4 on Wednesday, so it’s understandable that the Blueshirts are optimistic through the frustration and exhaustion.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too:
It’s just three games … it’s just three games … it’s only three games.
That’s the thought that has to run through the heads of many people around the Pittsburgh Penguins, even if other organizations seem to believe they’re going “off the rails” in similar situations.
In falling to the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, the Penguins at least managed a couple goals. One of them even had players grabbing assists.
Still, there’s no denying the headlines to many:
Zero standings points for the Penguins; zero goals and zero assists for Sidney Crosby.
There was some progress, mind you.
Crosby fired four SOG, up from a troubling zero in the first two games. He showed a little frustration with four penalty minutes, too.
The Penguins even reunited Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the power play.
It’s small potatoes for Penguins fans watching Max Pacioretty generate better offense than their entire team … but babysteps, right?