Recording his 49th career shutout, goaltender Tomas Vokoun turned away 28 shots and stood tall in net for a much needed victory for Pittsburgh.
The game went almost exactly how the Pens wanted it to.
Limiting their turnovers and somewhat staying out of the penalty box, the Penguins had slightly corrected in this game what they had struggled with in previous games.
Even though they still found themselves in the sin-bin, they didn’t commit bad penalties at bad times. Most of the time when the Pens had fouled it was when it wasn’t the time of the game to be in the box.
But most of all, after Thursday’s game, they looked like the Pittsburgh Penguins.
From the moment the puck dropped, to the moment that it had stopped, the Pens put in a diligent, determined effort Thursday night.
Granted they were playing a Callahan-less Rangers team, but New York still had Henrik Lundqvist, and as long as he’s in net it’s going to be a tough matchup.
Beating the Rangers already in the Garden this year, Vokoun brought his game once again. And the humble veteran got praise from his coach Dan Bylsma after the game:
”We knew we were going to get a guy who could come in a win big games for us. He’s done that twice in this building. Tonight he was solid, looked great, looked confident, had two or three big saves he had to make. He was great.”
The defense was able to show up tonight.
Allowing the Islanders to dissect them last game, the defense was able to find their footing in this contest. Dismantling their opposition’s power-play, the defense did a great job stabilizing the back-end of the Penguins and shielding Vokoun.
Offensively the Penguins were alright.
The team is still clearly having trouble on the power-play. Although they were able to convert on the PP the beginning stages of the third period, the Pens still didn’t execute on six of their seven man-advantages.
It’s okay though Penguins fans.
As long as the defense is holding their own and fortifying the Pens overall stability, everything else will fall into place.
Remember, even though they handled the Rangers tonight, they still have a tough squad as long as Lundqvist is between the pipes.
With that being said, Thursday night was a team win.
Next game for the Pens will be in Pittsburgh Saturday against the New Jersey Devils at 1 p.m.