Rangers vs. Penguins: Biggest Takeaways from Game 2
The Pittsburgh Penguins played a complete Game 2, and they will head back to New York with the series tied 1-1. The Penguins dominated the New York Rangers. They didn't let the Blueshirts generate any momentum.
Game 3 will get underway in less than 24 hours, so there is no time like the present to take a look at the biggest takeaways from Game 2.
Special Teams Reared Its Ugly Head
The Rangers once again failed to get the job done with a man-advantage, and the Penguins were able to extend their 1-0 lead to 2-0 late in the third. The Penguins were unsuccessful on some of their other power plays, but they were able to sustain pressure.
The Rangers' inability to take advantage on the power play in the first period killed them in Game 2, and, likewise, the Penguins ability to make the most of their opportunities allowed them to defeat New York with ease.
He Didn't Score, but Sidney Crosby Was a Factor
Sidney Crosby didn't score a goal in Game 2, but he was a force. He was able to test Henrik Lundqvist with six shots, and he pressured the Rangers defense throughout the night. A lot has been made about Crosby's goal drought, but he did a lot of the little things in Game 2 that he didn't do in Game 1.
Crosby is eventually going to break through, and it is going to be huge for the Penguins. The Penguins are finding ways to win without Crosby scoring, and you can only imagine what they will be able to do once he finds twine.
Henrik Lundqvist Is in the Zone
If the Rangers can find a way to score goals, they will win this series. Henrik Lundqvist had his best game of the entire playoffs during Game 2, and he stopped all but two shots that came his way. The Penguins put 34 shots on net, and only two got past the Blueshirts' esteemed netminder.
One shot was a glancing blow that tipped off defenseman Dan Girardi's stick, and the other was a one-timer off a rebound on the power play.
Earlier in the playoffs Lundqvist was off his game, but in Game 2 he gave the Rangers an opportunity to steal a win. Ultimately, the Rangers lost because of their inability to score, but the team should be encouraged by the performance Lundqvist had in Game 2.
Fatigue Is Going to Roll Over into Game 3
The Rangers' failure to put away the Philadelphia Flyers early is starting to catch up with them. The Rangers were visibly fatigued in Game 2, and one can only imagine how they will feel in a Game 3 that gets underway less than a day.
The Penguins could be affected by the back-to-back games as well, but they won't be nearly as tired as the Blueshirts. In Game 3 the Penguins should continue their game plan from Game 2, because it was very effective in shutting the Blueshirts down.
The Penguins were very physical, very aggressive and very tenacious in that game, and if they play the Blueshirts hard in Game 3, the Rangers could have a problem getting their game plan going.
The Penguins Did a Better Job Distributing Ice Time
In Game 1 the Penguins had multiple players who had single-digit ice time. In Game 2 every player but one averaged 10 minutes or more, and most players were in the 10- to a little over 14-minute mark in ice time.
This distribution of ice time enabled the Penguins to get fresh legs on the ice at all times, something that was effective because of the Rangers' tiredness as a team.
If the Penguins continue this in Game 3, they can take a stranglehold on the series, and that would give them the upper hand when they eventually return to Pittsburgh for Game 5.