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Penguins vs Rangers: Fan Notes from Madison Square Garden

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Let's try something a little different, shall we?

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As a recently turned 18 year old who stuck around locally for college, I'm not exactly swimming in money at this moment. For that reason, making the trek into the city and getting to the Garden to see a game in person is always a treat for me. While watching games on TV is obviously nice, there's nothing like stepping foot in the world's most famous arena and watching a team with as much as history as the Rangers take the ice. Getting to see any team come into New York is a fun experience, but the opportunity to see a high-octane team like Pittsburgh live isn't something I get to do very often.

With that being said, everyone knows the emotional roller coaster that sports can be. We cheer, we yell, we scream, we get angry, frustrated, annoyed......and all other types of emotions. Specifically for the Rangers, I tend to go through all of those emotions on any given shift, much less an entire game. For that reason, I thought it'd be fun to make note of what exactly is going through my head as it happens live. Everything you'll be reading are my second-by-second reactions to the course of the game. Maybe you'll agree with most of it, or maybe you'll wonder what game I was watching. Either way, it should be fun, and if it woks out I may do it again the next time I attend a game in person. Either way, enjoy seeing the inner machinations of my mind as the Penguins take on the Rangers!

1st Period:

  • 19:36-Not even 30 seconds after the puck drops, and Girardi needlessly ices it for some reason. Great start, boys.
  • 17:05-Almost three minutes into the action and so far we've had more stoppages than shots. That's never fun.
  • 15:43-Kessel goes for the low percentage pass through neutral ice, the pass gets picked off, and Malkin has to trip a Ranger so they don't start the counter attack.
  • 15:38-Aaaaaaaand five seconds after the penalty the Rangers score. Eddie Olczyk always says we run more set faceoff plays than any other team in the league. There might be a kernel of truth to that.
  • 13:30-Pittsburgh's starting to push back with some chances of their own but Hank is holding down the fort. Good to see him on his game again.
  • 11:50-Penguins have maintained pressure throughout the last few minutes, and now Staal just got sent to the box. Putting yourself down a man doesn't seem like the best way to try and shift the flow of the game, but what do I know?
  • 10:15-Not really an instant observation, but the Rangers have a really bad habit of leaving the back door open on the penalty kill. It's burnt them in the past, and they'll be lucky if the Pens can't feed it to Crosby and make them pay.
  • 8:40- Skjei goes for the home run pass that gets intercepted, and now here comes Pittsburgh. If Girardi or Staal made that pass then we'd never hear the end of it, but since it's Skjei nobody will say a word.
  • 7:01-Right after making a nice defensive play on Sheary, McDonagh goes and gets five for boarding him. Maybe he doesn't get five if Crosby doesn't jump in and defend Sheary, but then againSid doesn't need to do that if McDonagh doesn't completely plaster Sheary into the boards. Five and no game misconduct seems fair.
  • 5:48-Hank doing Hank things after Klein gets walked by Dumoulin and Skjei blows his assignment and leaves Bonino wide open. Those two have been a train wreck this season, and nobody's talking about it for some reason.
  • 3:30-Excellent job on the kill so far. The Rangers are barely letting Pittsburgh cross the blue line, let alone get a controlled entry and begin setting up.
  • 0:00-Looked like a solid period from up here in Section 224. Play like that for another 40:00, and you'll win a hockey game

2nd Period:

  • 20:00-Back in the seats right before the puck drops. Went to the meetup and met a bunch of the Banterers so that was nice. Although my pants feel a bit lighter, maybe someone stole something fr.......hey, my wallet's gone! Tony...........
  • 17:58-Oh hey there's Skjei and Klein being on the ice and bad things happening again. Only this time their mistakes end up in the back of the net. Those two, Skjei in particular, have amazed me this season, just not in a good way
  • 17:03-Was hoping the Rangers could bounce back from the goal against, but not even a minute later Pittsburgh has them pinned in again. Not good.
  • 15:02-Yikes. Staal goes for the clear and whiffs, then Zucc gives it a swipe and fails to clear as well. Shot from the point gets tipped by Crosby and it's 2-1 just like that. Can't afford to waste clearing opportunities against a team like the Pens. They're just too good and will make you pay every time.
  • 12:07-Not the greatest power play outside of the once chance that Murray robbed Nash of. Still, getting one good chance is better than usual, so I suppose that's something to smile about.
  • 9:48-Example #153048553842759 of why you need to capitalize on long power play chances like the one the Rangers just failed on. Pittsburgh completes the kill and Kessel hops over the board and roofs a shot over Lundqvist. Kessel has the best wrist shot in the league so that's not a goal anyone should be upset about, but you should be upset about having nearly 4:00 of PP time and nothing to show for it.
  • 8:16-Penguins ice the puck and take their timeout, which is funny because the Rangers are reeling and desperately need to regroup. Times like this you wish there was something like "Torts In A Can" that you could just open up and rip the team's head off, because they need that right now.
  • 7:03-Fluky deflection goal for Sid is what chases Hank barely halfway through the game. Crab people 1, non-crab people 0.
  • 3:18-Well, nice to see the goalie swap did absolutely nothing to swing momentum. Pittsburgh's continued carrying the play just as they had before the switch, and after a ~90 second shift in the Rangers' defensive zone they make it 5-1. I wonder what the early trains are.......
  • 1:20-Remember the "Torts In A Can" I was wishing for a few minutes ago? Now I'm wishing for that one can, plus nineteen more. And that might not be enough.

3rd Period:

  • 20:00-Atmosphere in the arena was a lot different during the 2nd intermission compared to the 1st. I wonder what happened? Oh, and the "early" train does't come until right before 10:00, so more notes!
  • 18:05-Antti Raanta is literally sitting in the net while the Rangers are scrambling to find the puck. Meanwhile Pittsburgh already has it back and has begun the cycle again. That whole sequence was a nice microcosm of the last half hour of game time.
  • 15:39-Hayes centering Vesey and Pirri. AV's selective wheel of justice strikes again.
  • 14:45-Kreider with Lindberg and Fast is another line. I suppose he's just picking names out of a hat at this point, I can't think of any other rational explanation.
  • 12:20-Josh Jooris is playing with Zucc and Miller now. No more needs to be said.
  • 10:56-Klein with a 2014 Girardi-esque turnover almost makes it 6-1. Like I said before, he's been low key atrocious this year and no one's talking about it. Why?
  • 9:04-Pens are out shooting the Rangers 35-13, and New York doesn't have a shot on goal this period. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the intermission to hear what AV said to rally the troops  for a gutsy effort like this.
  • 6:55-Offensive zone draw for the Rangers here, maybe they can finally get a shot on goal? Apparently not, but they can lose the draw, immediately go the other way, and give up another goal to make it 6-1. I guess that works too.
  • 6:38-Down by five, closing in on five minutes left, and Thanksgiving is tomorrow? I think it's time to just cut my losses and take the L. In the words of a famous movie star "Alright, so that's where we'll draw the line". I have a train to catch, so I'll wrap this up here.
Well, there you have it. That wasn't what I'd consider a fun game to be at, but going to MSG and getting to meet a handful of Banterers made it worthwhile. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!