Author: James O'Brien

Sidney Crosby, Keith Yandle

Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead

114 Comments

Was Game 3 about the New York Rangers’ smothering defense or merely a listless start by the Pittsburgh Penguins?

Whatever the answer may be – possibly a combination of the two – the Penguins gave the Consol Energy Center crowd little to cheer for until the late stages of a 2-1 Rangers win. New York also earned itself a 2-1 series lead with this decision.

After combining for eight shots on goal in the first period of Game 2, the Rangers and Penguins only had 10 in the opening frame (seven for New York).

That hardly bothered the road Rangers, though, as they cruised to a 2-0 lead through the first 40 minutes of the game. In that span, the Penguins managed just 11 shots on goal and often looked dead-legged and/or disinterested. There were some moments in which officiating came into question, yet the overall effort was spotty nonetheless.

The third period was a different story, but not enough to change the outcome.

Pittsburgh turned it on quite a bit, especially after Patric Hornqvist made it 2-1. There were some hectic moments at the end, yet Henrik Lundqvist & Co. held strong for an important win.

After all the positive vibes and talk of “mental edges,” the Penguins seemed to wake up too late in this one. Now they find themselves in a crucial Game 4 in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

You hear the “60-minute effort” cliche a lot, yet that might be a fair thing to trot out after a late arrival like this.

Speaking of starts, here’s Mike Milbury’s interesting take on the game:

Devils’ Henrique undergoes wrist surgery, expects 4-6 week recovery

Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils
1 Comment

It turns out that the New Jersey Devils only have one player who needed offseason surgery, and Adam Henrique got his wrist “cleaned up,” as GM Lou Lamoriello told the Newark Star-Ledger.

Henrique, 25, underwent an MRI that showed a need for minor surgery, according to Lamiorello. The Devils guess that the window of recovery will be about four-to-six weeks, which means that the young forward shouldn’t face too major an interruption to summer training.

Henrique scored 16 goals on 127 shots in 75 games, down from 25 tallies in 77 contests in 2013-14. He still managed to score 43 points, so it wasn’t a total waste for Henrique.

Lamoriello explained that it was the kind of issue that Henrique could have played through if New Jersey made the playoffs, yet this will help him avoid a helpful 2015-16 season. Perhaps we’ll see a more prolific scoring year from Henrique next season, then?

Video: Fleury keeps Penguins alive with big save

Marc-Andre Fleury
1 Comment

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been sluggish enough to earn Bronx cheers at home so far tonight, but Marc-Andre Fleury is a big reason why they’re only down 2-0 to the New York Rangers heading into the third.

That manageable – if still troubling – gap was maintained thanks to Fleury’s sprawling save on Derek Stepan:

Call it half skill and half luck (or something like that), but the Penguins aren’t that far from making a game of this in the final 20 minutes of regulation, and they can thank Fleury for some of that hope.

Video: Rangers exploit lax Penguins line change for Hagelin goal

New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes
19 Comments

So much for the mental edge?

The Pittsburgh Penguins have gone a long time without a shot on goal against the New York Rangers in Game 3, and the road team has a 1-0 lead when Keith Yandle and Carl Hagelin combined to make the Penguins pay for a really bad line change:

Yikes.

Yikes Part 2.

More woes for Beau: Pens’ Bennett out for Game 3

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game One
6 Comments

Once again, it appears as though injuries are making life difficult for both Beau Bennett and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The oft-injured young forward won’t play against the New York Rangers in Game 3 thanks to an upper-body issue. It’s not immediately clear what caused Bennett’s most recent ailment.

The 23-year-old hasn’t had a point in his last four games, including Pittsburgh’s first two playoff contests. He only managed to play in 49 regular season contests in 2014-15, which still marks a career-high for the 20th pick of the 2010 NHL Draft.

Scott Wilson will slide into Bennett’s spot on a line with Brandon Sutter and Steve Downie.