Monday, April 28, 2008

A Look Inside Penguins Vs. Rangers

I have a million thoughts racing through my head regarding the series between the Penguins and the Rangers. I figured I might as well voice some of them since everyone and their mother seems to have an opinion on this series. So away we go!


People keep referring to Marc-Andre Fleury as the big question mark in this series. Normally this would be where I would go on a rant about how dominant he has been since coming back from his ankle injury and how he has now made it just as deep into the playoffs as Henrik Lundqvist ever has, but instead I'll let the numbers do all the talking:

Marc-Andre Fleury's Post-Season Stats:
6-0, 1.51 GAA, .944 SV%, 2 SO

Any more questions?


The NHL media is reacting to Pittsburgh's 2-0 Game 2 win like the Pens have never played defense before. I know the Penguin offense is what gets all the press, but the boys in black have been one of the top defensive teams in the NHL since we all unwrapped our 2008 calendars. The only reason I can think of for all this sudden amazement on the part of these so-called experts is that they picked the Rangers to win and have to act shocked that the Penguins are this good. Otherwise why wouldn't they have picked them to win the series? Honestly, the Penguins are just as good as the Rangers defensively, if not better, yet they don't get any credit because they actually score goals to go along with it. Die hard Penguin fans know that guys like Gill, Letang, Orpik, and Scuderi have been just as important to the Penguins in the playoffs as Sid and Geno. It doesn't hurt having the hottest goalie in the game between the pipes either (see above).


No, the Penguins have not lost a game in the playoffs yet, but there is still a lot more work to be done in this series. As much as I would love to see the Pens sweep the Rags, and as good as they are playing right now, I would be perfectly happy with taking one of the next two and returning to the Igloo for Game 5 up 3-1 in the series. The Rangers are still a good team and the biggest competition to the Penguins in the East for my money. I don't expect Pittsburgh to take their foot off the gas, but I don't think the Rangers are ready to roll over yet either.


So much was made heading into this series about the impact Sean Avery would have on the Penguins. Despite his Game 1 goal, Avery hasn't had much of an impact on the series thus far. At least not until the end of Game 2:

I have a few reactions to the scrum at the end of the game:
  • Why has nobody mentioned the tomahawk slash Avery took at Hal Gill after the linesman stepped in? Watch closely at about the 1:15 mark of that video and then tell me why Avery should NOT be suspended. That is a flagrant and vicious stick swing and Avery should be out for somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 to 6 games at least. It was an indefensible act by a despicable player and he should be held accountable for it. I am literally in shock that I have not seen this mentioned anywhere.
  • People are going to talk about how Avery was going after MAF and how he was setting the tone for Game 3, but who is to day MAF hasn't gotten to Avery instead. MAF is a smart kid. You know he knew Gill and Laraque were nearby when he decided to show Avery the business end of his stick and Avery fell for it. If not for the bravest (or stupidest) linesman ever they'd still be picking pieces of Avery out of the end boards.
  • How great was it to see Scuderi and Talbot arrive on the scene and then turn to keep the oncoming wave of Rangers from coming to the aid of Avery? Part of me wondered if any of the Rangers were even going to bother going to help Avery. I would not have been shocked if they had just headed for the locker room and left Avery to clean up his own mess.

You can tell that there is really something special going on between Penguins fans and this team. This group of guys is just so likable and easy to get behind that it is not too surprising. But there is something to be said for the fact the Penguins are in the midst of a sellout string better than the teams of the glory days of the early '90s ever enjoyed. I am right in line with this too. This Penguins squad is right there with the '92 Cup winning team as probably my two favorite teams ever. To put it simply, as many others already have...

I love this team!

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