- A couple of quick strikes (2 goals in :14 seconds and then 2 goals in :20 seconds) and the Pens were able to overcome the rust of being off for nine days.
- Clearly your statline of the game belonged to Jarkko Ruutu: 17:04 icetime (all at even strength), 1 goal, 10 hits....And one hilarious (if he's on your team) stick in the face before a faceoff. If Sean Avery thought he was the only one to bring creative ways of being a pest to the series he knows better now.
- Ryan Malone had 2 assists and 5 hits with over 20 minutes of icetime and you won't here his name in any recap. Classic power forward doing his job hitting people and opening up room for his teammates.
- One can't really blame Marc-Andre Fleury for any of the goals he surrendered (except for maybe the great wrister by Avery). MAF was solid and stopped all the pucks you could hope for. He stayed up and in position as much as possible. Even after giving up a few goals his confidence wasn't shaken, as he acted confident and made a few solid saves afterwards.
- As usual, the story is Sidney Crosby. He won 61% of his faceoffs, worked hard and drew penalties and ended up on the night with 2 assists. Which really would have been one goal and one assist if Evgeni Malkin's knee didn't get in the way for the game winner with under 2 minutes to go from the big slapper. Crosby, again, showed how he is the most explosive and most prolific offensive player in the game... He deserved the recognition he got for being the #1 star of the game.
Despite Ottawa once tying a game 3-3; the Penguins were never in real danger in the first round. Going down 3 goals to 0 halfway through the game against a solid defensive team like the Rangers is a different story. But just like they battled back through regular season injuries like losing a #1 goalie and then reigning Hart Trophy winner, the Pens found a way to scrape it out. Rather than go into a corner and die like a wounded animal they didn't give up and kept after it no matter what the score or situation. The Blueshirts thought they'd be the more physical and the more skilled team but that was proved wrong tonight (hits were 48-37 Pens and shots ended up 26-24.) Scoring chances and overall puck posession was clearly in favor of Pittsburgh, minus the little hiccup in the middle of the game.
So in the face of not only adversity but a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 playoff lead, Pittsburgh battled back, showed their skill, and did what it took to get the victory. That's a team with character. That's a team with heart. That's a team that's not only good but is working to get the win. Rarely does a the more skilled team win if they're not working hard; and pretty much everyone on the Pens bench not only "never said die" but put in an honest day's work....And got rewarded, thanks to their skill.
No one can doubt, they earned it tonight. See you Sunday on NBC (Nothing But Crosby).
5 wins down, 11 more to go....