We have seen countless times over the years when John Tortorella was the head coach of the New York Rangers that playing conservatively is not the way to go when playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. Under Tortorella the Penguins dominated the Rangers, and as Rangers’ fans we would just hope to get a single point out of those games. Under new head coach Alain Vigneault however, this season the Rangers went 2-1-1 against the Penguins. You can thank Vigneault’s system for that.
Vigneault’s offensive system stresses puck control and constant forecheck pressure, which in my opinion is the only way you can beat the Penguins, especially in the 2nd round of the playoffs, which is the Rangers’ task at hand. The Rangers must, at all costs, apply as much pressure as possible and control the puck because if you give the Penguins’ offense an inch, they will take a mile.
The Penguins’ biggest weakness is defense and goaltending, which are the Rangers’ strengths, but since the Penguins offense is so potent and the Rangers is so futile, if you score 3 goals against them and don’t keep putting on the pressure and remain disciplined, the Penguins will easily put up 4 goals and beat you 4-3.
The only way the Rangers can win this series is if Lundqvist, the Rangers’ defense, and offense play top notch hockey, all while remaining disciplined at the same time, because the offensive depth that the Penguins possess gives them a big leg up in this series. Not to mention the Penguins have the best power play and penalty kill in the entire NHL, giving them a huge special teams advantage.
The Rangers will definitely have their hands full in this series no matter how you look at it.