Monday, May 05, 2008

Hossa heads off Rangers revival

Marian Hossa more than paid his way onto the Penguins playoff train on Sunday afternoon, as the trading deadline acquisition accounted for two goals, including the overtime winner that sent the New York Rangers packing for another season.

The Penguins who had jumped out to an early lead looked set to make a definitive statement as they sent the Ranges on their way, the Penguins so dominated the play of the first and to a degree the second that the New Yorkers rarely were found harassing Marc Andre Fleury in the Penguins net.

Perhaps that inaction led Fleury to let his game slip a bit as the Rangers mounted a third period rally that provided for two goals in less than a minute and a half in the third, sending a message that they were refusing to go quietly in the afternoon.

New York regained some of their composure in the third period holding the Penguins to no goals in the final frame and forcing overtime in the fifth game of their best of seven series.

The teams traded chances for the first seven minutes of period number four, until Hossa fired a deflected Sidney Crosby pass into an open Ranger net, beating Henrik Lundqvist on the final shot of the series.

Hossa has been slow to get untracked since he donned a Penguins uniform; however in no game thus far has he fit in with his Penguin team mates as he did on Sunday. From picking up the first goal to the numerous chances that he had through the game, he finally seems to have found that groove that the Penguins had anticipated was there for him when they picked him up on the trade deadline.

With two key goals and a shot that moves the Penguins on towards their Stanley Cup goal, the trade is looking better and better every game now.

The Rangers left the ice with many questions hovering around their exhausted line up, still to be determined is whether the likes of Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan will return to Broadway for the fall. There was a lack of secondary scoring for the Rangers in this series, a situation that will surely be rectified when they open the vaults at MSG over the summer months.

All changes however will depend on what Jagr does, there are suggestions he may be Europe bound, though some feel that he’s still hoping to add to his NHL statistics whether it be in New York or elsewhere.

All problems that Glen Sather will have to deal with as the draft and free agency dates quickly come up on the calendar.

Over at the Pittsburgh offices things aren’t quite as in need of repair, the Penguins are well ahead of the expected pace to be challenging for a Stanley Cup. The Pens are providing the evidence that they are already a well put together squad more than capable of challenging for the Cup, their Eastern final with Philadelphia should prove to be yet another measuring stick, one they feel will find them as finalists for the Stanley Cup in a couple of weeks at the latest.

Watching their play against the Rangers in this series, you’d be hard pressed to give them an argument.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Pens' bitter rivals, the Flyers, next
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