The New York Rangers were brutally dominated this evening by the Pittsburgh Penguins, and had their three game winning streak snapped in a 7-2 beatdown. The Rangers’ defensive flaws were put on full display tonight, as the Penguins tossed 47 shots on goal while the Rangers struggling to keep up with the pace. Despite allowing seven goals, Antti Raanta had a really strong game but never really stood a chance with the way the Rangers were playing in front of him.
At one point in the third period, the Rangers were within a goal, but shortly after scoring, the wheels completely fell off. The Penguins then rattled off four consecutive goals within a span of 15 minutes and essentially put this game to rest in dominating fashion.
I think the most infuriating part of this game was Alain Vigneault electing for a wholesale change of the forward lines, rather than matching his defensemen accordingly. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi were simply torched all night long by Sidney Crosby, yet they were continuously matched up as the “shutdown” pair. There wasn’t a single alteration made to adjust in-game, and that continues to be AV’s biggest flaw. In a 7-2 game, forwards were the least of their problems.
This now marks two consecutive games in a row against the Penguins where the Rangers had their doors completely blown off, and that’s not even counting last year’s playoff series. If the Rangers have any playoff aspirations this year, then there will have to be some major changes moving forward with this defensive core.
Not to mention, the Rangers will likely have to face the Penguins in either the first or second round if they plan on making a deep run. If the regular season series is any indication, then the Rangers still have a ways to go before they’ll be able to keep up with the Penguins.
Following tonight’s loss, the Rangers will have one game remaining on the schedule before the holiday break, and that will be on Friday night against the Minnesota Wild.