How Low Can They Go? Penguins Crushed, 6-0
When the Pittsburgh Penguins traveled to New York a few days ago for a pair of games against the Rangers, they had to realize that they had no real hope of overtaking the Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
What they probably didn’t realize was that when they returned home early Sunday morning, they’d be a whole lot closer to sitting out the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 17 years than they are to any of the teams above them in the Metro.
They departed Manhattan with no points — but surely a megadose of humility — to show for their visit after being embarrassed by New York, 6-0, at Madison Square Garden.
Forty-eight hours earlier, New York had defeated them, 4-2, in the opener of the two-game series. The Penguins likely didn’t realize at the time that that defeat would seem like the good old days for them a couple of days later.
Per stats man extraordinaire Bob Grove, this is the first time the Penguins have lost three consecutive games in regulation during the month of March in Mike Sullivan’s tenure as coach.
The loss Saturday, coupled with Florida’s 4-2 come-from-behind victory against New Jersey, allowed the Panthers to climb within one point of the Penguins and New York Islanders, who were tied for the first wild-card in the Eastern Conference playoff field, pending the outcome of New York’s game in San Jose.
The Penguins played without their Nos. 2 and 3 right-side defensemen, Jeff Petry and Jan Rutta.
Petry was injured Thursday, when Rangers winger Tyler Motte elbowed him in the face. The nature of Rutta’s injury or illness is not known.
The Pittsburgh Penguins actually had a fairly solid first period, as evidenced by their 15-12 advantage in shots, but still faced a 2-0 deficit when it was over.
Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin made a good save on Josh Archibald, who was set up in the slot by Jeff Carter about three minutes into the game, and Mika Zibanejad put New York in front, about two minutes later.
He threw a backhander between Tristan Jarry’s legs from the inner edge of the right circle, the second game in a row in which he opened the scoring against the Penguins.
The Penguins subsequently killed off a minor for having too many men on the ice at 6:01, but weren’t so fortunate after Evgeni Malkin was sent off for boarding New York defenseman Braden Schneider at 18:56.
Artemi Panarin made it 2-0 with 10.3 seconds to go before the intermission, beating Jarry to cap a sequence that began with a failed clearing attempt by Brian Dumoulin.
That was New York’s first man-advantage goal in nine tries against the Penguins this season.
Panarin’s goal seemed to utterly deflate the Penguins, because when they returned from the locker room after the intermission, their generally solid play in the first 20 minutes did not come with them.
The Rangers took a chokehold on the game early in the second, when Vladimir Tarasenko lashed a slap shot past Jarry from inside the right circle at 3:54 to cap a 3-on-1 break.
The Penguins got their first opportunity with an extra man in four-plus periods against the Rangers when Vincent Trocheck was penalized for roughing Drew O’Connor at 4:35, but they failed to generate a shot, let alone any significant pressure.
Eight seconds after Trocheck left the box, Chris Kreider steered a Patrick Kane pass behind Jarry to put New York up, 4-0.
It was Kreider’s sixth goal in four games against the Penguins this season.
That prompted Sullivan to replace Jarry with Casey DeSmith, presumably in an effort to change the momentum of the game.
If so, it didn’t work.
Less than two minutes after entering the game, DeSmith became the latest Penguin to be victimized by a Jacob Trouba head shot, albeit not the kind with which he usually is associated.
Trouba threw the puck toward the net from low in the right circle, and watch as it caromed off the left side of DeSmith’s mask and dropped into the net.
Panarin was left alone at the left side of the crease at 16:38 and flipped in a shot to put New York up by a half-dozen.
It was the second time in three games that the Penguins gave up four goals in a period. Montreal did that during the first period of its 6-4 victory at PPG Paints Arena Tuesday.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will have a scheduled day off Sunday and will face Ottawa Monday at 7:08 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena before heading west for games against Colorado Wednesday and Dallas Thursday.
Nothing to see here.
Injuries sure aren’t helping.
Who is injured that makes this team even any different than they are now they win maybe 4-5 games the rest of the year who really cares if they make the playoffs sadly this is a lost year and hopefully major changes next year tell the new GM to get a couple of goalies.
Can’t feel sorry for anyone involved with this franchise. This is what the vast majority of fans, media, players and front office wanted, and this is what they got. #Hexed
What? This is what the fans wanted? Eh?
MQ lost his thinking cap somewhere along the road I guess.
I get what MQ means when he says this is what the vast majority of fans wanted. All season, even now, it doesn’t take long to hear/read some fan defending this player or that player. There are even some media talking head types that still want to sign Jarry at all costs. This team has more holes in it than a wheel of swiss cheese, all the way up through the Coaching staff and front office. With the Spring countdown numbered in hours rather than days it is time for some Spring Cleaning. Get out the broom. You can’t get… Read more »
You wanted the, ahem, Big Three (or was it Four?). And you got ’em, brah. Now deal with it.
Yeah, 87, 71 and 58 are playing so bad this year. I bet Jarry, Carter and Dumolin are probably so unhappy with how the big 3 are just dragging this team down.
A ridiculous comment.
This was as painful to watch as any other lopsided loss this year. Wish WE had a Shesterkin in goal. He stopped eveverything.
I felt bad for the 4 Penguins who looked like they cared and were trying. The players AND coaches need to take a long hard look in the mirror and give an honest evaluation of themselves. So much blame to go around.
Fire Hextall and Burke and put Sullivan on a short leash. This team has no heart besides being slow, soft.
Sullivan gotta go too!
I really do not care anymore this year. But I can say this…Sidney deserves better…
Has been silly all along to sit here and pretend this was Carter, or a few bottom 6 players, or that Kapanen was the issue, or something Alex Nylander could fix, or Dumo, or what have you. Could sit here for literal hours listing the things that are wrong with this team from ownership to the AHL. But I really see a lot of extremely bad playing habits and much of that has to come down to the coach and his staff. Sullivan unfortunately needs to go, you could even consider doing it now and yeah, I am serious. But… Read more »
Things sure went sour after Lemieux sold!
Well, we were playing before 2 Jarry softies. The guy is gone and there are no breadcrumbs to find the way back. But then we switched goalies. Exit catastrophe enter disaster. On the other end the n. 1 star of the game was in the net with 33 saves. Maybe we could put Hextall in net? He might be useful that way, since everything else he does is useless. He dismantled our excellent 4th line for the second year in a row. Is he doing it on purpose?
Blow it up at this point, and if it means Sullivan has to go as well so be it at this point.
One of the many diehard Pens fans that’ve stopped watching the games, disappointment at poor management night in and night out isn’t something I can deal with so damn often
Tell Zibanejad to get his girly hair cut!
Time to rebuild!
Schedule doesn’t look too promising with who they have to play. First time in years they could miss playoffs. Even if they get in somehow, more than likely another first round exit unfortunately. What do they got to lose? Put Heinen in on second line and dump Rust to the 3rd since he isn’t scoring. Heinen seems to flourish more on those lines instead of benching him for Carter or the rookie Nylander. Poehling not making a difference either since returning. Before he got hurt again, He Heinen and O’Conner were doing well together scoring. I also think Zucker deserves… Read more »
Jarry was so bad, everyone who entered the Shutout Sweepstakes had to pay Shop ‘n Save for a change. #Hexed
Todd Reirden is one who needs to go. I remember Caps fans gloating when we picked him up, complaining about his defense coaching. The big purge in 2020 of Sergei Gonchar, Mark Recchi and Jacques Martin was brought about after one second round depature followed by two first round exits. Well, after two more first round exits things are just getting worse. Coaching staff needs a
house cleaning especially if you can’t get a team to play with urgency in big games.