This game didn't start out the way the Rangers had planned, and it's been a reoccurring theme for the last couple of games. Evgeni Malkin gave the Pittsburgh Penguins an early 1-0 lead one off of a one-timer from the right faceoff dot. There was really nothing you could do about it, as no one was going stop that rifle of a shot that close. The Rangers definitely had their hands full for the rest of the period, as the Penguins doubled them up on shots 12-6 by the time the horn sounded.
It wasn't a terrible period by the New York Rangers, but they weren't getting enough shots to the net which doesn't really help their case that much. The second period was probably the Rangers bets period of the game, as they began to get shots on net, and were crashing down low. Although they weren't able to score in the second period, they definitely had the chances to do so. Their power play was also horrid once again. They had a hard time gaining the zone, and when they did gain the zone, they turned over the puck almost immediately.
One thing that didn't make much sense this game was the penalties that the referees were calling. Not all of them, but some were just so mind boggling. For example, Dan Girardi was called for roughing, meanwhile Sidney Crosby was the one who went back after Girardi and fell over. That guy never seizes to amaze me. He avoids almost every single penalty call against him. Crosby was guilty again in the third period as he stuck out his leg on Marian Gaborik, and slew footed him. Again, no call on the play.
The good part about the first two periods was that the Rangers were only down by a goal heading into the third period. That cautious optimism didn't last very long as the Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 just 28 seconds into the third period. The goal came on the power play off of a deflection from James Neal in front of Henrik Lundqvist. Again, not a goal you could do much about either. It was just a nice deflection on net.
The Rangers had hit two posts in the third period, which would have made this a completely different game had they actually went in. But this whole game was about the bounces, and the Rangers weren't on the receiving end of them tonight. Simon Despres closed out the scoring on a breakaway after the Rangers had hit their second post, leading to a rush back up ice for the Pengins. Despres made a move to the backhand and flipped it over the sprawling Henrik Lundqvist.
At the end of the day, the Rangers closed our their toughest stretch of the schedule, and came away with a mediocre record of 3-4-0. While it's not the greatest, that's definitely a tough grind going up against those type of opponent's in such a short stretch. Not to mention, after several months of down time, it will take some time to get back into full gear. Although, the Rangers were flat in most of their losses, so there really isn't too much to defend there.