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Pens/Rangers thoughts…

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Just when it appears the Penguins are on their way, another disappointing finish takes place at Consol Energy Center.

– What a crazy night. For about 58 minutes, the Penguins did everything but solve Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist, who was terrific. And then Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke ignite a wild scene at Consol Energy Center with two late goals, and surely the game was over. How in the world did the Penguins let anyone, let alone a defenseman, get off a shot in that situation? It was totally inexcusable, quite honestly. Protecting a one-goal lead with a power play in hand for the remainder of regulation should equal a slam dunk victory. Instead, a frustrated Penguins team dropped what could be a meaningful point down the road.

– You will notice that the Penguins dominate a lot of games, and out-shoot a lot of teams, but often come away talking about how well the other goaltender played. Could it be that the Penguins, other than Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, simply don’t possess the skill at forward required to bury the majority of the opportunities they are earning? Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. We saw it in last season’s Monreal series. The Penguins have a number of wonderful grinders, and there is something to be said for this. But on nights like Monday against the Rangers, it was once again evident that the Penguins don’t have much in the way of snipers. It’s a problem.

– Marc-Andre Fleury was pretty good against the Rangers. He’s taking baby steps. The first two Rangers goals were deflections, and the game-winner off Ryan Callahan’s stick was a very poorly played two-on-one by Paul Martin. Tough to blame the goaltender for any of those goals. Monday didn’t see Fleury as his best, but the last three outings have been encouraging for the slowly blooming Flower.

– Will the Penguins end up leading the league in fighting? I’m thinking they might. One thing is certain: GM Ray Shero did not put together a roster that lacks for toughness.

– Wednesday night should be interesting here at the Consol Energy Center. The Vancouver Canucks are one of hockey’s most talented teams. This should be a terrific measuring stick for the Penguins, who are clearly playing better in the past week but still don’t have the look of a true contender.

Until next time, you stay classy, Pittsburgh.

– Josh Yohe

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