Rangers Notebook: Referee's whistle wasn't an issue

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This time, there was no accusing the Penguins of diving, currying favors or otherwise swaying things at Marty Straka's expense.

The New York Rangers readily conceded yesterday that the puck Straka pushed across the goal line under Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was rightly discounted as a goal because of a referee's whistle that sounded while the puck was still sliding through the crease.

"The puck was laying there. I just tried to put it in and, obviously, he blew the whistle before that," Straka said after the Rangers fell, 2-0, to the Penguins.

Still, Staraka didn't believe Fleury ever really covered the puck.

New York coach Tom Renney concurred with that description of the play at 15:46 of the third period, which would have tied the game, 1-1, if it stood as a goal.

In Game 1, the Rangers thought Penguins captain Sidney Crosby embellished on an interference call against Straka late in the third period. The Penguins scored the winner in a 5-4 game on the resulting power play.

Jagr offers no explanation

Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr and Crosby declined to divulge the content of a few one-on-one conversations during the game.

"Just playing hockey, you know," Jagr said.

"Ask him," Crosby said. "I wasn't the one talking."

Jagr also dismissed his run-ins with Penguins agitator Jarkko Ruutu -- one of which led to Ruutu picking up a hooking penalty.

"Who?" Jagr said. Twice.

Lineup shuffle

Renney made one lineup change, replacing winger Colton Orr on the fourth line with Petr Prucha, who had not played in the Rangers' first six playoff games.

Orr had replaced Ryan Hollweg for one game.

No consolation

New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, asked if there was any consolation in holding Crosby without a point: "No. We don't care who scores."

Crosby had two assists in Game 1.

Rough ice

Rangers players had mixed thoughts on whether the Mellon Arena ice improved over Game 1, when it was soft.

"No difference. The puck was bouncing a lot," Lundqvist said

"I think it was better," center Chris Drury said.

Renney impressed

Even before falling behind by two games, Renney had good things to say about the undefeated Penguins.

"They're right where they belong," he said. "They're a good team and an exciting team. The NHL should be happy they've got them.

"We've got our hands full. This is a team that has a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup. We want to make sure we get in the way of that happening, of course."

Shelly Anderson can be reached at shanderson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1721.


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