Penguins' lack of passion leads to loss
NEW YORK — Many of the Penguins insisted their “battle level” was higher in Game 6 against the New York Rangers.
Of course, the bar wasn't set very high in Game 5.
Rangers forwards again displayed more passion than the Penguins in the early going and, as a result of New York's 3-1 win, Game 7 will be played on Tuesday at Consol Energy Center.
“I don't know what it is about how we play at the beginning of games,” rookie defenseman Olli Maatta said. “But the start tonight is what cost us the game. We need to be so much better.”
Two of the New York goals — right wing Martin St. Louis' tally just 3:24 into the first period and center Derick Brassard's in the second — were blatant examples of the Rangers willing their way to goal-scoring areas and simply being able to operate untouched until a goal was scored.
On the first goal, instead of taking a man around the net, the Penguins allowed St. Louis, the NHL's Art Ross Trophy winner last season, to stand alone to Fleury's left. The puck eventually caromed off St. Louis and into the net, while the Penguins essentially stood and watched. This occurred during a stretch that saw the Rangers fire 12 of the game's first 14 shots.
The third goal for the Rangers — and this was the backbreaker, as the Penguins were surging in the second period, down 2-1 and having breakaway attempts by Brian Gibbons and Marcel Goc snuffed by goaltender Henrik Lundqvist — was the real backbreaker.
Fleury made a save on left wing Benoit Pouliot's save from the right wing boards but was unable to handle the rebound cleanly.
With defenseman Kris Letang trailing the play in front of the net, Brassard simply outmuscled defenseman Paul Martin and center Brandon Sutter.
Brassard shoveled the puck past Fleury, but it came up short of the goal line.
However, Brassard bulled his way to the front of the cage with Sutter and Martin unable to move him.
The third goal still was on the Penguins' minds after the game.
“I actually thought we had energy,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said. “Our battle level was higher. Once again we fell behind, and we had to play from behind again.
“I thought we were OK until midway through the second period. Then we got disjointed. We weren't playing as a group. That's when it gets really hard to come back.”
The Penguins have played 12 games in this postseason. They've fallen behind by at least two goals in the first period four times.
“In the first round,” coach Dan Bylsma said, “three of our four wins were come-from-behind. This series, it's been every team that's gotten off (to a good start). We were fighting from behind for (56) minutes. It was a hole we couldn't dig ourselves out of.”
Speaking of holes, the Penguins' season will be buried if they fail Tuesday against the Rangers.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Rossi: Johnston must reach Malkin in Moscow
- Q&A: New coach Johnston feeling at home with Penguins
- Hollidaysburg native Lafferty relishing his chance with Penguins
- Penguins assistant Martin gets new job title
- Recchi rejoins Pens, this time as a coach
- Despite management change, familiarity reigns for Penguins prospects
- Penguins notebook: Kapanen shines in scrimmage
- Penguins notebook: Annual development camp scrimmage slated for Saturday
- Penguins sign Despres to 2-year deal