Somewhere Gary Bettman is furious. Absolutely furious. He's probably on hold at the present moment ordering soccer goals for all 30 teams.
Okay, maybe not, but the league had to be hoping for a little something more in front of the national crowd tonight in Pittsburgh. The face of the league, Sidney Crosby, and his Penguins took on the free agency bolstered New York Rangers.
And actually, it was rather uneventful.
The only goal came on the power-play in the 2nd period. Sidney Crosby fed Ryan Whitney who was (surprise, surprise) pinching in from the blue-line. Whitney's shot/pass found Evgeni Malkin, and Malkin put it behind Henrik Lundqvist. And it was all they needed with Marc-Andre Fleury picking up the 36 save shut out, his first of the season.
Jordan Staal did have a penalty shot in the 2nd, but he didn't do anything with it. He has shown he has moves one-on-one in the past, but tonight he went for a simple shot on the five-hole, which Lundqvist easily stopped.
A win against a division opponent, and a shutout at that, is definitely something to get excited (even if it was a boring game) about, but forgive me for not already penciling in the names on the Cup when it comes against the Rangers, especially at the point they are right now. They can't buy a goal, although with Scott Gomez making $10 million, Jaromir Jagr making over $8 million and Chris Drury at a cool $7.1 million, Lord knows they have tried.
Honestly they really looked awful tonight, and Gomez commented between periods that it's the best they have played all season. It's still much too early to pass judgment, because it could take some time for the new additions to find their place, but the Rangers are looking more like the high price lackluster boys in blue of the past.
The Penguins are at it again Thursday at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Pens and Leafs have already met once this season, with Pittsburgh winning 6-4. Now that's a game Bettman can get excited about.