Rangers vs. Penguins Game 2: Keys for New York to Win
The New York Rangers captured a victory in Game 1 over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, and they even scored twice in overtime! Well, not really, but nonetheless the Blueshirts' tenacity in overtime was a big reason why they were successful in Game 1, and they will need to carry over some things to Game 2.
The Rangers won their first overtime game against the Penguins since 1992, and if they play like they did in Game 1, they have a chance to head back to New York with a 2-0 lead.
The Rangers will look to steal another game in Pittsburgh, and here are the biggest keys for victory in Game 2.
Make the Most of the Power Play
The Rangers were silenced on the man advantage in Game 1, and they will need to be better in Game 2. The Blueshirts had a 2-0 lead, and failure on the power play gave the Penguins a chance to get back in the game.
Pittsburgh eventually tied it and forced overtime. The Rangers need to limit the amount of games they play if they want to be successful in the playoffs, and a successful power-play unit would have enabled them to win in regulation.
Going forward, the Rangers need to be better because lack of scoring on the power play could end up costing them sooner rather than later.
Stay out of the Penalty Box
This was a key for Game 1, but it is just as important for Game 2. The Penguins were shut out on the power play in Game 1, but Olli Maatta rang one off the goal post that was an inch away from being a goal.
Sidney Crosby has not scored a goal throughout the playoffs, but the law of averages suggests that he could score on the power play.
The Rangers need to keep the Penguins' top guns at bay, and remaining disciplined could be the biggest way to neutralize the Pittsburgh offense.
Continue to Exploit Mismatches
The line of Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot was on the ice for two of the three goals scored in Game 1. On the first goal, the Rangers' third line was able to exploit the Penguins' third line, and that is something that needs to continue.
The skill on this line is too much to handle at times, and the fact that this is the team's third line speaks to the Rangers' overall depth. This line was the team's best for most of the season and has the potential to be a huge X-factor throughout this series.
Continue to Roll Four Lines
If you take a look at the time on ice for the Rangers in Game 1, you will notice that the distribution of playing time was very even. Everyone played at least 10 minutes. The top-end forwards played around 20 minutes, while the defensemen were in the mid to high 20-minute range.
What this illustrates is that Alain Vigneault is comfortable with rolling out four lines, and that ultimately allows the Rangers to have fresh skaters on the ice at all times.
The Penguins were not able to do this, as they had some players in single digits for minutes and others who played just more than 10 minutes. This speaks to their lack of depth and Dan Bylsma's unwillingness to roll out four lines.
This could hurt the Penguins in the long run and benefit the Rangers when it comes to winning this series.