April 5, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) carries the puck against pressure from New York Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman (32) during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
The New York Rangers dropped game number 81 to the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. The Rangers fell behind early on, and couldn't find a way to get back into the game. Derek Stepan also took a nasty knee-on-knee hit from Brooks Orpik, which I'll explain a little later in the recap.
It didn't take long for the Penguins to jump on the board, as Chris Kunitz redirected home a shot from the point. You can't really blame anyone on this goal, the puck took a strange bounce off of Kunitz's skate, and found it's way behind Martin Biron. The Rangers were able to respond quickly with a goal coming from Brandon Dubinsky on a rebound in front of Fleury.
Hopefully this is a start to a good streak of games heading into the playoffs for Dubinsky. I thought he played one heck of a game for the Rangers, and drew a few penalties while he was at it as well. Just four minutes after Dubinsky tied up the game, Tyler Kennedy sniped home a shot from the side of the net to put the Penguins ahead 2-1.
Follow after the jump for more.
The Penguins wouldn't look back after that goal, as Richards Park would add another goal to make it 3-1 Penguins. After some time reviewing the goal, it was determined that the puck did indeed cross the line, before the net was knocked off, and it was a good goal.
Over the first two periods, the Rangers had their fair share of power play opportunities, but were unable to capitalize on any of them. Evgeni Malkin made it even worse for the Rangers, and he banged home a pass in front of the net, and that would make it 4-1 Penguins early on in the third period.
About five minutes after Malkin's goal, Brooks Orpik took a blatantly obvious run at Derek Stepan, and stuck out his leg in the process. Both of them collided knee on knee, and it looked as if Stepan got the worst of it as he stayed down on the ice for some time. The refs would make the right decision on this dirty and disgusting type of hit, and gave Orpik a five-minute major, along with an accompanying game misconduct.
The Rangers and even John Tortorella were ticked off after that hit, and Tortorella shared some words of his own during the post game:
"Absolutely, it’s a cheap, dirty hit," Tortorella said. "I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there, I wonder what would happen? So I’m anxious to see what happens with the league with this. Just no respect among players, none. It’s sickening."
"It’s one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They whine about this stuff all the times and look what happens. It’s ridiculous, but they’ll whine about something else over there, won’t they? Starting with their two f****** stars."
I really do hope the league looks into this hit, and throws the book at Orpik, because that was just downright dirty. Orpik did the same exact thing last year with a knee-on-knee collision with Johan Franzen of the Detroit Red Wings.
On the ensuing power play, Artem Anisimov would tip the puck home to cut the Penguins' lead to 4-2. The Rangers would have the power play for the rest of the game, but would be unable to add any further goals. Kris Letang would seal this game up with an empty netter from his own end, and the Rangers would drop the game 5-2.
It was definitely a lot uglier than many people expected it to be, but that's what happens when you get closer to the playoffs, teams play tougher. I just hope Derek Stepan's injury isn't as bad as it seems, because that was one dirty collision. The Rangers also can't afford to lose a player like Stepan heading into the playoffs.
The Rangers final game of the regular season will be on Saturday, starting at 6:30 on te NBC Sports Network.