Goodbye 3rd Place; Rangers Smoke Penguins at MSG 4-2
NEW YORK — The Pittsburgh Penguins needed to win in regulation to have a realistic chance to catch the New York Rangers for third place in the Metro Division. New York generally had the better offensive chances though the Penguins were opportunistic.
Despite New York’s advantages, they couldn’t shake the Penguins. New York twice had one-goal leads for long periods of time but never gathered a two-goal lead until Chris Kreider (27) cleaned a rebound in front of the net midway through the third period for the game-winner, then added an empty netter in the final minute for a 4-2 Rangers win at Madison Square Garden.
New York is now a nearly insurmountable 10 points ahead of the Penguins for third place, with only 14 games remaining in the regular season.
The Penguins were perilously close to being skated out of MSG early in the first period. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin’s between-the-legs pass was errant, and Artemi Panarin sprang Mika Zbinejad on a two-zone breakaway.
Zbanejad (35) beat Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry in the glove side.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan shuffled his lines midway through the second period and found success, at least momentarily. Sullivan moved Alex Nylander to his third line with center Mikael Granlund and Drew O’Connor while returning Rickard Rakell first to Evgeni Malkin’s right wing, then to Sidney Crosby’s wing.
Rakell scored a few minutes later.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby intercepted Rangers defenseman Andre Miller’s pass behind the Rangers’ net and quickly centered it for Rakell (24), who snapped it past Igor Shesterkin.
However, the tie game lasted slightly more than two minutes. A miscue between Penguins forward Jeff Carter and defenseman P.O Joseph served a golden chance to Motte in front of the Penguins’ net. Motte (4) quickly wristed the gift past Jarry for another Rangers lead.
Kris Letang was visibly furious. First, he fished the puck out of the net and whipped it off the boards. He retrieved the puck and slammed it the length of the ice as the Rangers celebrated.
Crosby was also dominant on the Penguins’ second goal, stealing the puck several times and controlling it in the offensive zone before setting up Jake Guentzel (30) in the slot.
In a bout of not-so-coincidental physicality, a pair of players were slow to get up in the first period. Early in the first period, Tyler Motte elbowed Penguins defenseman Jeff Petry, who needed to be helped off the ice. A few minutes later, Penguins’ defenseman P.O Joseph injured Motte with a high check.
Petry left the game. Motte was felled but didn’t miss a shift.
Coach Mike Sullivan said Petry was being evaluated for an upper-body injury.
New York dominated the Penguins in the opening 20 with a 6-1 high-danger chance advantage and had 70% of the shot attempts (25-11). Stats courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com
The Penguins flipped the advantage, albeit slightly, in the second with an 11-6 scoring chance advantage.
With only five defensemen, Letang played a game-high 28:55 and 30 shifts.
The Penguins’ Tristan Jarry stopped 31 of 34 shots. After being pulled three times in his last eight starts, Jarry played one of his better games. He made several difficult saves to keep the Penguins close in the first period. The Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves on 28 shots. The Penguins have lost two in a row and will face the Rangers again Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Smoke? lol. 3-2 plus an EN with the deciding goal halfway through the 3rd. Calm down.
Keep saying…Carter might suck but I am a whole lot more worried about soft and poor defense especially from guys like POJ and Dumoulin….
Smoked! Sensational! Haha. Who writes this nonsense? Oh… I see.
I agree… defense is getting worked.
2 games in a row with goals a direct result of P.O misplaying a puck or in bad position, do the coaches not look at film?? Between him and Carter not sure which is worse. Time for 73 to ride the bench put Chad back in.
Kept saying when Kulikov got here and everybody melted down…
POJ is ok but he has a LOT of work to do to be a reliable NHL defenseman. His skating and puck handling is great and all, but he gets burned way too much especially in simple one on one situations, which should always advantage the defender.
Well defenseman do take longer to develop. I just feel PO is worth the patience. Who do you think should play in his place?
Why do you guys never mention Malkin’s blind passes at the blue line with an empty net? All these players share in the outcomes. It’s just easy to pick on the bottom.
Malkin’s or Letang’s? Oh… I see.
PS looked like Dumo was Slewfooted before the goal.
Agree, that is the first thing i noticed. Unfortunately for us, the NY Rangers are immune to the rules and allowed to do anything they want.
That’s because the Penguins are the DIRTYEST team in the league, don’tcha know? 😉
He was, for sure. But he cant get slew footed if he keeps the player in front of him.
It is just plain stupid to think that the Penguins got ZERO powerplays in the game. Really? Granlund got….extremely harassed lets say…next to the net with about 15 minutes left I think it was. Hooked, tripped, held. Nothing.
Third place was a dream only for the most delusional of Penguins fans. I wasn’t one of them.
14 games left I doubt they win maybe 5 games and miss the playoffs this is Hextall and his nightmare the team tries every game they are not good enough they will be out of the playoffs by April
In the film WIZARD OF OZ the Tin Man was searching for a heart I think the Pens have the same affliction. Lack of “heart” in a person same meaning as volition. Faint hearted,tough to coach around that. Eventually the Tin Man discovered he did have a heart after all, trial by fire can make or breaks us. Pens need to rescue them selves that is a tough row to hoe.
You know what the Pens need and it’s too late now they need old fashion muscle. I’m tired of getting taken advantage of every important game. If they do make the playoffs it will only get worse. It won’t get better with this coach he doesn’t play hitters or if he does they have to be 5’ 10 176 lbs.
You know what? I was pretty satisfied with my Pens. They barely lost with 5 defensemen, which is a direct result of an elbow to the head in full speed. Concussion is the bare minimum here. And I don’t want to hear about how accidental this and that happened. A hockey player knows the pressure is coming. What was his elbow doing swinging at head height? Is it some move that players practice that I’m not aware of? Petry was coming at full speed so force equals mass plus acceleration and add the swinging elbow. You do the math. Dumo… Read more »
This loss brought to you by POJ and the referees