The refs were incredibly biased against Pittsburgh in this one. Forcing the Pens to put their power play out six times? That’s just cruel.
The game was a pretty typical Pens’ D / Fleury loss, as they outshot the Rangers in every period and 39-25 overall but lost 3-2. Again, the Fleury goals were mostly defensible; the first one was on a wild scramble in front that Erik Christensen scooped up, the second apparently deflected off the Pens’ D and the post (though it still looked like Fleury was off his post on the short side a bit), and the third came after Michalek fell at the Pens’ blue line then Paul Martin dove to the ice in a failed attempt to break up a 2-on-1, for a nice tag-team suck effort by the Pens’ $9 million offseason acquisitions. I call the 25-shots, 3-goals result ‘Typical Fleury’ in that, while the goals were indeed possible to rationalize, on the other end of the ice, Henrik Lundqvist was absolutely lights-out for most of the game and stopped probably about 10 chances that would’ve been similarly defensible goals, which is a thing that supposed franchise goalies in the NHL do more than once every couple months.
I would rationalize that the Pens were lucky to get a point out of this game, given that Lundqvist was unbeatable for 57 minutes and the Pens’ power play reverted back to Insta-SuckTM, but the Pens took the lead in the final minutes off a lucky Matt Cooke wrister that slipped through Lundqvist and was immediately followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to give the Pens a power play for the remainder of regulation, during which the Rangers scored an ugly shorthanded game-tying goal with under 90 seconds while the Pens were taking turns doing impressions of Lennie from Of Mice And Men in their own zone.
Fleury has allowed fewer than 3 goals just twice this season in 10 games (not counting his First Period exit in Phoenix), with both those games coming this past weekend against Tampa and Atlanta, and it’s been many a fortnight since we’ve seen a game where Fleury played like Lundqvist did last night. Still, the reverse game puck Monday went to Michalek, who continues to perform at a level where the only positive thing I can say about him is “He must still be hurt.” Awful loss.