You've got to capitalize when given the opportunity.
The Rangers learned that in the first three games with an inept power-play. Tonight, the Penguins had three vital chances to score, but it just was not their night.
Ryan Malone's short-handed breakaway. Evgeni Malkin's penalty shot. Jordan Staal's open net.
Those missed opportunities were the keys to tonight's loss.
That piss poor Ranger power-play? They were 2-7 tonight. Good enough to live another day. The Penguins power-play was just not on their game tonight. It happens. But, allowing the Rangers to stay in the series only opens the door for more opportunities for New York to stay alive. A bounced of the puck in the right way will extend this series another game.
The Pens looked listless from the start. It's almost as if they expected the Rangers to roll over and let the sweep happen. Battered and bruised, the Blueshirts had nothing to lose and it showed. Somehow the Penguins managed 28 shots on goal. It seemed like they had 10. New York did a great job shutting down the high-powered Pittsburgh offense. Henrik Lundqvist was unreal.
New York did a great job shutting down the slot. Every time a Penguin player would drive in, Ranger sticks would be everywhere knocking the puck away. Pittsburgh could not get any momentum. When it looked like it would, they'd take a penalty and go back to having to defend for two minutes.
We all knew there was no way the Penguins were going 16-0 in the playoffs. The loss is good. Hopefully it'll cause an emergency feeling to set in inside the Penguins locker room. They need to go into Game 5 on Sunday dead set on shutting down everything the Rangers will throw at them and capitalizing on their chances. If they don't, New York will slowly gain their confidence and have the feeling they can win the series. Pittsburgh doesn't want that. End it on Sunday and move on.
What else was flowing through my head during Game 4?
-Hey Versus. Thanks for the multiple replays on the Evgeni Malkin play that led to the penalty shot. Here's a tip: If you want to get a better look at that play, SLOW DOWN THE INSTANT REPLAY! It was an incredibly fast play and there was no way you could tell if the puck crossed the line in regular speed. Yet, why on every single replay Versus showed, it was normal speed or a not-so slow speed? Had Versus slowed the replay down frame-by-frame, with the above the net camera (the best angle), viewers would have had a better idea if the puck crossed the line before the net came off. It probably wasn't a goal anyway, but the viewers had no real evidence to make a decision
UPDATE Thanks to Andrew for sending this in:
Looks like the puck is resting on Malkin's shin. Only question though is if the left post is off. Hard to tell the way Geno's body is positioned. Not whining here, but this is the perfect example of what Versus could have done. Not like the goal would have mattered the way the Pens offense was going.
I'm going to assume the "war room" in Toronto reviewing the goal slowed it down enough to make the right call here.
-Too much unselfishness killed the Pens. Too many "one-extra" passes instead of shots. Too much one-on-one individual moves by Sidney Crosby tonight. He tried so many times to split the defense instead of making one move and putting it on net. Shoot the puck. Geez, I sound like a Ranger fan yelling at their power-play.
-There's a reason why Malkin doesn't take shoot-outs in the regular season. For whatever reason he just tenses up on breakaway's. At least make a move and don't aim for Lundqvist's glove
-Crosby sucks...because he's not on your team.
-Now THAT'S the Lundqvist who's worthy of a Vezina Trophy.
-I really hope this isn't Jaromir Jagr's last season in the NHL or playing hockey altogether. He's looked incredibly rejuvenated the last month and a half of the season.
-Game 5 is more important to the Penguins right now than to the Rangers. That might sound weird, but Pittsburgh needs to close this series out before the puck keeps bouncing New York's way.
Two days of rest, then another elimination game. Do it.
Let's Go Pens!