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Fleury frustrates Rangers, Penguins grab 2-1 series lead

May 5, 2014, 10:16 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Three Getty Images

Heading into Game 3, the big question was if a lack of rest would doom the New York Rangers. Instead, it came down to their inability to beat Marc-Andre Fleury — the Pittsburgh netminder posted a second consecutive shutout for a 2-0 Penguins win, and 2-1 series lead.

“Score effects” might account for some of the story (at least in the third period), but the shot totals would almost argue that the Rangers were the team with more lift in their legs. They carried a 35-15 shot advantage, yet they simply couldn’t solve “The Flower” tonight.

OK, the 29-year-old goalie got a little lucky at times, but there’s no denying his brilliance in Game 3:

In the process, Fleury pulled off a rare feat:

The Penguins’ offense was pretty quiet but took advantage of two breakaway opportunities as Sidney Crosby finally broke through and Jussi Jokinen scored the 2-0 insurance goal.

While the unit created plenty of opportunities, the Rangers’ power play still remains a conundrum. They’ve now gone eight straight playoff games without a goal and find themselves mired in an 0-for-34 slump.

The Rangers have to feel a little bit of grief in losing despite an impressive team performance in Game 3 and great work from Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2. (It’s difficult to beat up Lundqvist too much for allowing two breakaway goals tonight, either.)

Despite seeing a 1-0 series lead switch to a 2-1 deficit in two nights, the Rangers can at least hang their hats on a nice performance and will get the usual amount of rest with Game 4 on Wednesday.

That optimism will dim considerably if they can’t tie the series then, though.

  1. getinthefastlane - May 5, 2014 at 10:21 PM

    A win is a win. The pens played well and they won. Style points don’t matter.

  2. theageofquarrel - May 5, 2014 at 10:21 PM

    KING FLEURY!!!!!

  3. ironmd778 - May 5, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    This series sucks. Two boring teams playing boring games.

    • johninpa - May 5, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      Don’t watch then. I’m sure enjoying it.

    • handsofsweed - May 5, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      You suck. One boring poster making boring posts.

    • bobc74 - May 6, 2014 at 7:57 AM

      If you are bored by these games, there is a little invention called a TV remote which is used to change the channel on your TV from across the room. Give it a try, you’ll be surprised at how well it works.

    • hockey412 - May 6, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      If playoff hockey is boring for you, maybe you just don’t like the sport. Lots of people are like that, they like their “home team” but not really the sport. It’s cool man.

  4. Tyler - May 5, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Fleury looks like a completely different goaltender when the team in front of him plays solid team defense.

    Rangers power play is putrid.

    • Tyler - May 5, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      Also.. you don’t hear his name much but Paul Martin has quietly averaged over 27:00 a game in these playoffs and leads the league at +9. Great post season for him.

      • inerrantword - May 5, 2014 at 10:42 PM

        And he is blocking plenty of shots too…and scoring points. Brilliant post season…

    • chanceoffleury - May 5, 2014 at 10:33 PM

      The powerplay is killing them right now beyond measure. The Pens haven’t even been that responsible and have taken a few really unnecessary penalties (I’m looking at you James Neal), and the Rangers haven’t even been able to get momentum off them, let alone a goal. It’d be a completely different series if the Rangers were getting anything off those powerplays. The Pens were doing the same thing in the first few games against Columbus. Columbus was scoring shorties and getting solid chances on the PK and it was totally killing anything the Pens were trying to build off of them. No point in even going on the powerplay if the other team is going to score on the PK or get a breakaway out of the penalty box.

  5. 950003cups - May 5, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Rags are done. It’s a wrap. They might get a W in game 5. But that’s it.

    • handsofsweed - May 6, 2014 at 7:20 AM

      Not yet. As much as we wish it was true, the Rags are not gonna back down. This isn’t gonna be easy.

  6. JoeAvg - May 5, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    An open letter to Marc-Andre Fleury:

    I was almost positive that after game 4 of the Columbus series that the “flub” would bust your confidence. I’m so glad I was wrong. You name the time & place and bring the crow – I’ll eat it. I just reserve the right to cook it first.

    • stakex - May 5, 2014 at 10:37 PM

      Nothing builds a goalies confidence better than playing the Rangers….

      Just wait till he has to play Boston or Montreal… his confidence won’t look nearly as good against a team that’s actually capable of scoring.

      • cityofthechamps - May 5, 2014 at 10:41 PM

        Gotta start somewhere. What team did the bruins beat before sweeping the Pens last year???? If Pittsburgh can get hot now I smell a deep playoff run.

      • c9castine - May 5, 2014 at 11:48 PM

        listen to yourself.

        back to back shutouts and your still finding ways to try to say he sucks.

        lame.

      • hockey412 - May 6, 2014 at 9:08 AM

        Are you just going to keep eliminating teams from your list of “just wait until he has to play….” list each round?

        NYR had a better G/G avg than Montreal this year, and they were second in the league in Shots/Game. So……..

        ?

  7. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - May 5, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Pierre Mcguire was just stating how Henry is one of the few goalies that practices breakaways before each game.

    Looks like if the Rangers are gonna give up those kinds of breakdowns, he’s gonna need more practice.

  8. chanceoffleury - May 5, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    The historically cold winter in Pittsburgh has the flowers blooming much stronger than in years past. Great game by the most important flower of them all! Pens are starting to roll and I’m liking what I see. Statement win, for sure!

  9. stakex - May 5, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    I know the popular narrative will be that Fleury is playing amazing and that’s why the Rangers haven’t scored in two games…. but its really not that simple.

    Its been the same story for years now: The Rangers can’t score goals, especially in the playoffs. They might have had 35 shots tonight, but very few of them were QUALITY shots. A lot of long shots with no one in front, shots to Fleury’s bread basket, or dribblers that had no chance. Some of the best shooting chances they had were wasted ill advised pass attempts, or by missing the net. Of course the Pens defense deserves credit for limiting the Rangers quality chances, and Fleury deserves credit for not having any disasters…. but the Rangers deserve a lot of the credit for their own offensive woes.

    Even if the Rangers were to come back and win this series, its not going to be with a goal barrage. They just don’t have it, and we have years of evidence to prove it. AV came in to replace Torts because the Rangers wanted more offense… and it hasn’t made a difference. The Rangers were 18th in goal scoring this season, and their playoff scoring issues continue. I think its time to blow up the core of “star” players for the Rangers, and start over…. Nash, Stepan, Hagelin, and Brassard should all be gone next year because obviously they can’t perform when the heat is on.

    • schlitzy - May 5, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      i agree with your comments about the Rangers not scoring goals. i don’t understand how this team is having such a difficult time scoring with guys like Nash, Richards, & St. Louis. these guys were brought in just for that reason. scoring!! if im not mistaken Stepan led the team in points last year and he’s basically been a no-show so far in the playoffs. talk about frustrating!!

      some credit needs to go to Pittsburgh for their defense through the neutral zone. the Rangers aren’t getting the stretch passes that they used during the regular season to play an up-tempo pace.

      obviously the power play is torture to watch. it’s been frustrating watching them not even be able to get the puck into the zone. the few times tonight that they were able to set up in the zone there was no movement. everyone just kinda stood around and stopped skating while passing back and forth and then shooting a long shot with nobody in front of Fluery. they know he’s playing well right now and stopping everything that he can see coming. guys need to get in front of him and block his vision! the power play actually seems to be sucking momentum rather than building it.

      i’m not giving up on my team. despite where this series is at the Rangers have been in every game so far. if one of the top guys just steps up and plays like the player we all expect it could be enough to spark a bit of fire.

    • c9castine - May 5, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      plenty of offensively skilled players on that team. fluery is playing great and the pens are as a team playing stout tough defense. you watch that game? not too many chances off rebounds.

      your just starting to get nervous that montreal is tougher than you thought and need to release some of that anxiety…

      they scored 19 goals against the great Steve Mason in round 1 including 3 4 goal games.

      just admit it, its the pens.

      • schlitzy - May 6, 2014 at 12:09 AM

        yeah i agree the Pens are playing great defense. didn’t mean to take credit away from them. it’s just frustrating that the scoring the Rangers have had hasn’t been coming the guys that were brought here and paid to score goals.

        i love seeing Zuccs, Pouliot, and Carcillo score. But the Rangers need their top tier guys to step up and play like the top tier guys.

        of course as you pointed out, the Pens top Dmen are doing a good job of shutting down our top forwards. i guess i just expect more when the shot totals are so lopsided in the Rangers favor.

  10. pitpenguinsrulez - May 5, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Back 2 back shutouts, I love it. I’ve been saying throughout all of the playoffs that Fleury has played fine and while I was irritated after he blew Game 4, he’s rebounded and played great. I thought the Rangers had a strong start just that they didn’t have the bounces. Zuccarellos shot should’ve went in but didn’t due to the posts. The defense infront of him has been solid these past two games. Aside from the first period in Game 1, the Pens have controlled a wide majority of the play since. I knew it was only a matter of time until Sid scored. Finally the Pens have yet to lose in regulation. Bring on Game 4.

    • c9castine - May 5, 2014 at 11:54 PM

      yep. theyve lost 3 OT games, won 6 regulation. out of 9 played.

  11. whammy71 - May 5, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    Pens played a solid game. MAF was stellar. Sid got on the board. And it seems to me that the Pens are getting away from HCDB up-tempo puck possession hockey. They dumped and chased a lot. Blocked shots. Took the body. Mucked and grind. Crashing the net. So much of what you don’t see with Bylsma’s system. Also think Bortuzzo deserves to dress if Orps comes back. Heck….play them both. It’s the POs, you can use guys like that.

    • c9castine - May 5, 2014 at 11:56 PM

      they arent…they were off in this game i did not tihnk they were solid except for in the D zone. very solid there…but let the rangers get there too frequently and easily and failed to get enough pucks deep on the rangers and work their defenseman. no zone time. they arent getting away from that, you just saw a bad game.

      last game they played both. excellent defense and fast hard checking offense.

      • whammy71 - May 6, 2014 at 10:55 AM

        IDK – I saw them take a lead and then start to play a more shut down game. I’m not worried about shot disparity at this point. MAF stayed square to the shooters…controled rebounds…and if things got dicey, the players seemed to crash the net area to squash any scoring chance the Rags were generating.

        Also, saw the Pens hold the puck along the boards a lot when the Rags were attacking – wasting time in the process.

        Pens have also cleaned up their shatty neutral zone play from the 1st round.

  12. broadstreetsbaddest88 - May 5, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    James Neal at his scumbag antics again. What a dirty deliberate high stick to the face. He flat out did that on purpose. Of course he won’t be suspended for it though. An what was up with the entire penguins bench at the 30 second mark left in the game jumping up yelling doin the wave at the refs. Looked like they coriographed it with the rocketeers.

    • pitpenguinsrulez - May 5, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      Hey what was Girouxs score on the golf course today?

    • pittsburghmohawk - May 5, 2014 at 11:11 PM

      Shouldn’t you be golfing? Or holding up a liquor store. Whatever Flyer dirtbags do in the off season.

    • jdlinder11 - May 5, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      what do you make of the mark staal cross check to the back of 87’s head?

    • JoeAvg - May 5, 2014 at 11:19 PM

      Ahhhhh….that would be the Rockettes. If you’re gonna lower yourself to insult for fun (I know I’m doing the same thing right now- nobody’s perfect), at least don’t make yourself look doubly stupid.

    • c9castine - May 5, 2014 at 11:58 PM

      hahah rocketeers. the rocketeers were yelling about the interference/slashing play on Letang. marc staal cross checked sid in the head twice.

      of course he did it on purpose…accidental high sticks dont happen 5 times a game or anything.. better lock your bedroom door hes gonna come stick you…

    • mordock57 - May 6, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      What the hell is “coriographed?” Stupid isn’t bad enough… broadstreet is actually dumbing down his stupid. It’s painful and sad.

      1975

  13. 19inarow - May 5, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    I played songs out my window to the Rangers fans walking back to their cars, from MSG. They’re loud on the way to the game, and loud if the Rangers win after the game, but quiet when they lose. They just did the walk of shame. I played “No Excuses,” “Loser” (Beck), and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Two consecutive shutouts?

  14. bandree - May 6, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    Good job last night Pens love watching this well defended series; however, I’m getting a little annoyed/frustrated at the fact I can predict when penalties are going to be called. Whenever a team is ahead it seems like all of a sudden the refs are putting the team that’s losing on the power play! Its probably just me, but the Columbus and now the Rangers series seem to be controlled by the refs. Last night there were some really dumb penalties taken by the Pens (looking at you Neal) but to have 5 PP to 1 or 2 seems a little hard to believe. Just because the Pens are up doesn’t mean the whistles should be put away. Again maybe its just me but I’ve gotten this feeling from both series that the refs dictate the flow of the game! Anybody else seeing/thinking this?

  15. bauer98 - May 6, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Jokinen goes for a 7 game point streak, is tied at second in playoff scoring in the league.. AND he is just a sidenote everywhere ;( No love for juicy.

  16. jimeejohnson - May 6, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    1975.

  17. basedrum777 - May 6, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Fleury was the best player on the Pens in the first round (including his one flub) and has been the best in the 2nd round so far. Sid has looked much better these last two games. Jokinen deserves a lot of credit.

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