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Rangers ‘can learn a lot’ from how Columbus played the Penguins

May 2, 2014, 2:36 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Six Getty Images

The Blue Jackets couldn’t ultimately beat the Penguins in their first-round series, but the New York Rangers are thankful for what the upstarts from Columbus showed in pushing Pittsburgh to six games.

“We had a chance to see the way they played, and the way Columbus [brought] their game to them,” Rangers forward Derick Brassard said, per the New York Post. “We can learn a lot from the way Columbus put everything behind the defensemen, made them defend. They forechecked very hard, they didn’t pass up many shots. That’s something that we’re going to try to do.”

We mentioned yesterday in PHT Extra that the Penguins didn’t exactly shut up their critics in beating the Jackets. Marc-Andre Fleury had some tough moments, and the players in front of him didn’t always play well either, particularly when Pittsburgh held a lead.

That being said, the Penguins were absolutely deserving of beating Columbus. The stats illustrate how badly they dominated in puck possession, and for all we heard about Sidney Crosby not scoring a goal, he still managed 19 shots and six assists.

“We’re meeting an elite team,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who joked he “popped a blood vessel” in his eye watching all the tape of the Pens-Jackets series.

“We know coming into this series that for us to have a chance against such a good team, we’re going to have to find another level – another level of execution, another level of compete. That’s how good these guys are.”

Related: Get your game notes: Rangers at Penguins

  1. pdmjr - May 2, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Well that’ll get em far.

  2. elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 2, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Your not only playing an elite team your playing the best roster ever assembled not 1 not 2 not 3 but 4 Stanley Cups is expected from this elite team

    • barkar942 - May 2, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      Letang being on this roster makes your statement one of a pure homer. Letang and best roster ever assembled don’t belong in the same thought.

      • elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 2, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        Iam a flyers fan dude have you ever heard of sarcasm

      • barkar942 - May 2, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        My apologies- didn’t realize which side of the Pennsylvania fence you were on.

      • elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 2, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        Did not mean to treat you mean I cant stand the penguins

      • barkar942 - May 2, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        And my apologies for my Rangers knocking out your Flyers- great series though. Mason looked great. Your D needs some major work though.

      • elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 2, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        No apologies needed the Rangers are the better club it sucks because it was one of those steal a series off a better team thing I am rooting for the Rangers the rest of the way Go Get a Cup it would be awesome ! Just remember you heard it hear the refs will give the pens all kinds of pp time and the pop 5 on 3

      • miketoasty - May 2, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        Please don’t take elmer seriously.

        The Pens have a decent roster and could possibly make the ECF but most likely won’t make it past there and if they do, winning the SCF will be near impossible with the four teams the west has left.

        This team should definitely win at least one more cup before Crosby/Malkin hang em’ up but unless they get some help at the bottom six forwards this team most likely won’t make it back again anytime soon. Their defense could also use a ton of help (Moving Letang would actually be a great idea really).

      • barkar942 - May 2, 2014 at 3:00 PM

        Let’s get one team to take Letang, Mike Green and Michael DelZotto. Their ability to score will need to be real good to overshadow their lack of defending ability.
        All three of them should become third and fourth line wingers. Position would be better suited to all of them.

      • claudegirwho - May 2, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        Ha your both morons

      • elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 2, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        miketoasty already giving yourself a soft landing i see

      • barkar942 - May 2, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        LOL. Have fun, guys
        Rangers in 6.

      • elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 2, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        Derick Dorsett just might be nuts enough to give Crosby a good old head shot !

      • barkar942 - May 3, 2014 at 1:18 AM

        There’s one win. Exactly what the Rangers did on the OT goal will be the downfall of the Penguins. Simple mistake in coverage- Brassard is all alone and puts it in- play continued and the entire Penguins team was flopping on the ice like fish out of water including Fleury when the Rangers scored another for good measure.

    • mangoman1966 - May 2, 2014 at 11:08 PM

      Were you born in 1975

  3. elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 2, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    The flyers took you 7 so does that mean if you dump the pens in 6 the flyers were more elite ?

    • Tyler - May 2, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      No. It means the Flyers lost in the first round.

      • elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 2, 2014 at 3:24 PM

        Yes we all know the flyers lost in the first round but that will have ment the pens lost in the second round so are the pens elite ?

    • mangoman1966 - May 2, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      Elite and flyers should not be used in the same sentence.

      • elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 3, 2014 at 8:32 AM

        Your elite team just lost

  4. xdj511 - May 2, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    The Rangers’ best chance is to play hard and try to get them off their game, especially Fleury. If they can bring out Neal’s inner goon and have him take some stupid penalties that would probably help too. The Flyers, the Islanders, and Columbus have all shown it’s fairly easy to get them off their game in the playoffs, to get them to cough up 2 goal leads, and ultimately to beat them. It remains to be seen how successful the Rangers will be.

  5. kastout11 - May 2, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    First of all, no team will take Letang and his enormous contract. Neal will take dumb penalties because his hockey IQ is low, and it is easy to take him off his game. The Pens impressed me by beating Colubmus. I really thought Columbus was primed to win that series, and wow are they physical. I think the Rangers goaltending and defense is superior to the Penguins, but the Pens have the edge offensively. I see this series going the Rangers way, with their defense shutting down the Penguins offense, similar to the way the Bruins shut down their offense last year, but not quite as dominant as Boston. I also, still do not trust Fluery to win the series. He will allow too many soft goals, like he always does come playoff time. I don’t want to hear “he won a cup”, because that seems like it was ages ago, and he is not nearly the goaltender now than he was then. Rangers in 6.

    • hockey412 - May 2, 2014 at 3:29 PM

      I’ve been all over Letang this year (except for the stroke thing, but you are right – no one is going to take him with that risk), but he played extremely well the last two games. When he focuses on defense first, he’s one hell of a player.

      Can’t argue with your thoughts on Neal.

  6. theageofquarrel - May 2, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    The Rangers are 4-16 against the Penguins in the playoffs.

  7. hockey412 - May 2, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Eh, this article is kind of pointless (not knocking the article, just the size of the grain of salt to take the comments by). The Rangers may have seen how Columbus’ style of play was hard for the Pens to handle at times, but that’s not a threat – because NYR can’t pull that off. Columbus is set up to play that game, NYR is not. They can watch tape and tweak, but they can’t change their strengths. AV is a smart coach, they’ll play to their strengths.

  8. joey4id - May 2, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    In this era of dump and chase, and keeping the puck below the goal line, Brassard’s comments are hardly earth shattering.

  9. joewilliesshnoz - May 2, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    The Flyer’s suck, and the Rangers aren’t much better. Pens in 5.

  10. khar9 - May 2, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    58 played great the last 2 games … You girls should watch hockey instead of your flyers/rangers series

  11. xdj511 - May 2, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    Now this headline is reminding me of the slogan ‘you can learn a lot from a dummy’

  12. rpiotr01 - May 2, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    Rangers D is far more mature than last time they played Pitt. Not saying they’ll win, but at this point in their careers Staal and Girardi are far more mature as players than last time they met, plus McD is coming around and Stralman has been playing some solid hockey.

    Columbus slogged it out along the boards with Pitt and I’m impressed with Pitt’s ability to adjust to handle Columbus’ game. Rangers like to forecheck too but it’s much more of a speed game, less grind it out.

    Bottom line for me, when a goal makes the difference you can never be confident against a team with Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Letang etc. Guys who can consistently bury it make all the difference. Should be a good series.

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