I honestly thought the Penguins would go down in the second round very easily. I figured the cakewalk through Ottawa had set unrealistic expectations for the team and I thought the Rangers matched up better, both in terms of experience and grit.
Pittsburgh’s game one win seemed like more of a fluke than anything else. But yesterday’s win over the Rangers was actually very impressive. They did a great job of keeping the Rangers to the boards. The Rangers don’t have a lot of speed, and what little speed they had was useless.
Obviously, we can talk about the special treatment Sidney Crosby gets, and that NBC devoted at least 40 minutes to refuting the very thought of it, in what has to be one of the most embarrassing media-apologizing-for-treatment-of-an-athlete spectacles I’ve ever seen. But honestly, it really hasn’t been that big of an issue. The game one penalty against New York Ranger Marty Straka, who had the audacity not to get out of Crosby’s way toward the end of the game, was awful timing, but no worse than blowing a three goal lead.
If the Rangers want to get past the Penguins, they’re going to have to change things up. I’d start by dropping Brendan Shanahan down a line or two. Scott Gomez needs some speed on his wing. Larry Brooks agrees with me.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Seth Rorabaugh has a great game two wrap-up post, though.
Also, Terry Frei has a nice column explaining what everyone but the Colorado Avalanche seemed to know months ago: Peter Forsberg is more high-risk than high-reward.
Adrian Dater has a nice post on how Forsberg went down right before game one.