NEW YORK NY - FEBRUARY 01: Jordan Staal #11 of the Pittsburgh Penguins leaves the ice after being ejected after punching Brandon Prust #8 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on February 1 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Sometimes there are games that leave you thoroughly pissed off and red in the face.
Tonight was one of those games.
The Rangers fell 4-3 in t
he skills competition a shootout to the Crosby and Malkin-less Penguins. Jordan Staal sucker punched Brandon Prust and Dustin Jeffrey scored the lone goal in the 8th round of the shootout for a Penguins victory.
The Rangers had a 1-0 lead courtesy of Brandon Prust (Prustbyerians Unite) heading into the second period, despite being outplayed for the majority of the first. Early in the second period, Prust lined up for a face off alongside Matt Cooke and after some pushing and shoving, Prust was ready to go. Unfortunately, Prust didn't get the memo: Cooke only goes after defenseless players who aren't as 'tough' as he is. Cooke skated away as he pretended to act like he didn't even see Prust challenging him. It's sad when a 'tough' guy needs a teammate to stick up for him. The next time Prust touched the ice he was greeted by Derek Engelland who threw down in 'defense' of Cooke. Considering Cooke has made delivering cheap shots a way of life (Marc Savard's career could attest to that) it was an incredibly cowardly move.
Shortly there after, Artem Anisimov smacked a feed from Brandon Dubinsky out of mid-air to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. The Penguins answered with three tallies of there own from Jeffrey, Rupp, and Kunitz. With less than five minutes left in the second, Brandon Prust delivered a clean hit to Tyler Kennedy amidst a scrum along the boards. He was then greeted by a swift glove covered left hook from Jordan Staal. Staal caught Prust clean on the jaw and was assessed a match penalty and five minute major. Ryan Callahan would score on the ensuing power play and make Prust's hit to the face worthwhile.
We interrupt this recap with a mid-recap rant..
Despite the fact that Staal clearly punched Prust in the jaw, the Versus knucklehead pair of Mike Milbury and Keith Jones decided it was their prerogative to defend the indefensible. According to their logic, Staal shouldn't even have been accessed a penalty. Apparently it was Prust's fault that he was punched in the face. It was nothing less than diarrhea from the mouth's of Versus' finest. What a joke.
With a tie game going into the third period, the Rangers out shot the Penguins 11-3 yet weren't able to muster the deciding goal. One point or not, the Rangers should have left the Garden with two tonight. It was good to see both Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky make an impact on their return to the lineup, but I'm sure John Tortorella wasn't happy with this one.
Have at it in the comments.