PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Sportsnet NHL analyst and former Penguins winger Colby Armstrong joined "The Fan Morning Show" on Monday to break down Pittsburgh's first round playoff series against the Rangers.
The series is knotted at one game apiece after the Rangers' 4-2 win in Game 2.
Many in Pittsburgh are wondering if Evgeni Malkin's return to the lineup threw the Penguins into disarray. While Armstrong agrees that things didn't totally click for the Penguins on Saturday, he likes how head coach Mike Sullivan used Malkin.
"That was the most scrambly, I think, Coach Sullivan has had it in a while, trying to find something," Armstrong said. "I like where they have him. I mean, I like their lineup…but you've got [Bryan] Rust who's missed some time, Malkin missing some time. So, you get those guys back and get them rolling, I like the shape of their lineup. They need to clean some stuff up, for sure."
Armstrong feels that the Penguins haven't been themselves in this series. He points to Jeff Zatkoff's goaltending as a big reason why they've been able to stay afloat through two games.
"I'd say, if it wasn't for Zatkoff, they'd be down two games to none," Armstrong said. "I don't know if the Penguins have played that well. They're chopping the puck around, not possessing it, and that's (holding them) to the standard of what we've seen over the last few months. I've seen a team skating the puck, transitioning, puck possession, executing plays, and I don't know if it's what the Rangers have done, or if the Pens are just a little choppy, a little bit standing around and not playing that regular game."
"I've got to hand it to Zatkoff, I thought he's done pretty good job for them so far through two games. But, you definitely want to have Fleury back, no question."
That all being said, Armstrong does think the Penguins are in good shape as the series heads to New York.
"Right now, the Penguins are in a spot where I think they can say, you know what, I don' t think we've played our best in these two games, and we're tied 1-1," Armstrong said. "It's a situation where you say, hey, we're okay, we're 1-1, and we haven't played our best, so let's find that extra gear and see what happens here in New York."
The interview can be heard here:
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