The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers were scheduled to play two games in four days and three games in two weeks. After Friday night, the Penguins have two more chances to redeem themselves.
And they will need to do so.
The Penguins’ propensity to give other teams odd-man rushes has been well covered this season. Forwards who don’t slide back as the high forward, letting opponents behind them, and defensemen getting greedy has been an imperfect storm and the lowlight of a good Penguins season.
“We got outplayed in every facet of the game. We got outcoached in every facet,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “There’s no excuses for it.”
When they play well, the problem magically vanishes. The problem flares up with a vengeance like acne before Prom night when the Pittsburgh Penguins are not playing well.
“No…I mean, it’s obviously a big game. I don’t have a great answer,” Sidney Crosby said regarding the flatline performance.
The Penguins were terrible Friday night. Easily one of their worst performances this season, and they turned in the dog-chewed homework in one of the most important regular-season games. They are locked in a battle with the New York Rangers for second place in the Metro Division and will likely see the Rags in Round One.
“There’s not much to take from that one. You can’t just show up and expect to get a win,” Crosby said.
The Penguins laid an Easter Bunny egg.
The Penguins managed just five shots in the first period and only three at even strength. They yielded two odd-man rushes, including Chris Kreider’s breakaway goal that countered a Penguins three-on-one.