Rangers vs. Penguins Game 2 recap: Power play falls flat again as Pittsburgh knots the series at 1
Playing their fourth game in six nights, the Rangers fell flat against Pittsburgh as the Penguins knotted the series at one game apiece.
The Rangers still don't have a power play goal, and now, they have a tied series heading back to New York, as the Penguins won Game 2 Sunday night 3-0.
The score wasn't indicative as how the game was played, as Henrik Lundqvist was nearly unbeatable, as the Rangers offense struggled to find consistent footing. Lundqvist made 32 saves during the game, and if not for the stick of one of his defensemen, the tilt may have gone even longer.
The Penguins opened the night by taking three early penalties, putting the Rangers on a power play with a chance to take an early lead. But as the story goes, though, the New York man-advantage failed to convert, firing only two shots on goals in the six minutes of power play time that came in the game's first 10 minutes.
The Rangers power play went 0-4 on the day, and is now in an 0-29 rut after failing to convert during Game 2.
While the Rangers couldn't find the back of the net through the game's first 20 despite the power play time, neither could Pittsburgh, as nine saves from Lundqvist sent the teams into the second period at a scoreless standstill.
In the middle frame was where the Penguins truly dominated, directing 16 shots on Lundqvist. He made a number of difficult saves, turning aside efforts from Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, and Beau Bennett from quality scoring areas to keep a zero on the scoreboard.
Midway through the second period, however, Pittsburgh broke into the zone on an odd-man rush, and then finally broke through. After Evgeni Malkin got the puck to Kris Letang, his centering feed for Kunitz ticked off the stick of a sprawling Dan Girardi and through Lundqvist for a 1-0 lead.
Lundqvist would continue to do his part to keep the deficit at one while the Rangers continued to struggle to generate consistent offensive chances. Marc-Andre Fleury had a relatively easy stint, only facing 22 shots for the game.
Still down a goal late and pressing, Derek Dorsett took an offensive zone penalty after the whistle to give Pittsburgh its third power play of the contest. And while the Rangers have been anemic with an extra attacker, Pittsbrugh has excelled, and a James Neal shot created a rebound for Jussi Jokinen, who potted it past a prone Lundqvist to push it to 2-0.
Malkin would add an empty-netter to give the Penguins their third of the night, and send the series back to New York tied at one.
No Rangers player or Alain Vigneault will ever go to fatigue as an excuse, and the Rangers power play wasn't converting when the team was on full rest. But with constant offside calls, lost puck battles, and a much slower pace than Game 1, it's tough not to at least question how much this recent stretch of hockey played a factor in the team's performance on Sunday.
Of course, the question can be asked all over again as the puck will drop for Game 3 in under 24 hours—Monday night—at Madison Square Garden.