The Pittsburgh Penguins saw their season come to a close Tuesday night, as the New York Rangers completed their comeback, and defeated them 2-1 in Game 7.
Here’s how it happened:
The first period Pittsburgh came hard, but were down heading into the second.
Trading the puck and hardly generating any shots on goal, both teams were sort of slow in opening the tilt. However, it was New York who struck first.
Rushing into the Pens’ zone with a 4-on-1 advantage, New York made a few tic-tac-toe passes, and eventually Rangers’ forward Brian Boyle, who was in front of the net, put it through the wickets of Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, 5:54 into the game.
Thereafter, the Pens’ turned up the heat.
Pelting Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with a plethora of shots, Pittsburgh was forcing massive pressure on New York, but to no avail. After 10 shots on Lundqvist, Pittsburgh went down the runway down 1-0.
The second period is where Pittsburgh would strike.
Receiving a drop pass from Evgeni Malkin, defenseman Olli Maatta fired a slap-shot on net, to which it created a juicy rebound for Jussi Jokinen, who potted the equalizer 4:15-minutes into the second stanza. However, that tie score would be short lived.
Awarded a power-play due to a tripping penalty on Matt Niskanen, New York would break the tie. Accepting a pass from Martin St. Louis following a mad scramble, Rangers’ forward Brad Richards would snap home New York’s second goal, beating Fleury top-shelf.
That would prove to be all New York needed.
Despite throwing everything and the kitchen sink at Lundqvist, the Pittsburgh Penguins never regained an equal score, and fell out of the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
Fleury was good, but his defense was not. Following pucks instead of picking up assignments, the Rangers’ chances were great because Pittsburgh left too many men wide open. That’s how Richards’ scored; that’s how Boyle got them on the board.
And now, major changes are in line for Pittsburgh. Starting with their head coach.
Ousted by five lower seeds in five-straight seasons, Dan Bylsma’s run as the head coach for the Penguins is about to end. Unable to grasp passion and getting his players ready to compete, his impending firing now has an hourglass of sand ticking away his time.
Change is coming.