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PHN Postgame: Penguins Outplayed Rangers, Loss Invites Big Changes

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NEW YORK — The Pittsburgh Penguins outplayed the New York Rangers in Game 7. They badly outshot them, 43-27 in regulation. The Penguins had 13 high-danger chances compared to just five for the Rangers.

Stats according to Natural Stat Trick. Squashing a team and allowing only five HDSC is usually an excellent recipe for success, but the Penguins found bad luck, bad bounces, a crucial non-call went against them, and their penalty kill was atrocious.

The 5v5 domination wasn’t enough. The Pittsburgh Penguins lost 4-3 in OT.

Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry played on an injured ankle. He was almost the hero. You can see his heavily wrapped ankle as he limped away from the media area on Sunday night–closeup video (at the end).

Jarry played well, but a couple of shots, including the OT game-winner, deflected off Penguins defensemen near the net.

The non-call that could change league rules occurred with less than six minutes in regulation. The Penguins were properly defending a one-goal lead until Alexis Lafreniere grabbed Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson. Lafreniere pulled at Pettersson’s helmet until it came off, and Pettersson had to replace the helmet or leave the ice surface.

In going to the bench, the Penguins’ structure broke down, and Mika Zbinejad whipped a perfect shot top-shelf from the right-wing dot.

“It stinks,” head coach Mike Sullivan said of the NHL helmet rule.

Sidney Crosby called the rule “terrible.”

The Rangers tied the game, and the Penguins’ generous PK, which allowed New York chances and goals throughout the seven-game series, again hung on for dear life. The Penguins PK could not hang on, and when the red lights behind Tristan Jarry, it was over.

The Penguins felt they deserved better. They probably did. But the loss is sure to invite significant changes. Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Bryan Rust are free agents, and despite GM Ron Hextall placing a priority on their contract status last summer, the team apparently didn’t like the numbers it heard, and the trio remains unsigned.

Rumors abound that one or both of Malkin and Letang will depart via free agency, and it seems that’s a foregone conclusion for Bryan Rust, too.

The Penguins did score a pair of beautiful goals. Jake Guentzel kicked a bouncing into the air and then whacked it past New York goalie Igor Shesterkin. Evan Rodrigues disrupted the New York power play for an unassisted breakaway goal. He scored with a one-handed backhander that he elevated despite wearing a defenseman.

It’s been a pleasure covering this team. PHN works 365, 24/7. We will continue to cover the team with daily stories, analyses, and opinions. We also plan to cover the 2022 NHL Draft, which could be significant for the Penguins.

The photo is courtesy of 93-7 the Fan’s Jeff Hatthorn. We were tossed out of MSG at 12:30 a.m., so we had to finish writing back at the hotel and film the video outside. Here’s what filming the standup looked like. A pretty nice backdrop, eh?

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Chase Cranson
Chase Cranson
4 months ago

Dan nice work hope to hear from you in the future

GBG
GBG
4 months ago

Great coverage all season. Glad to follow your reporting

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
4 months ago
Reply to  GBG

Actually a great site. Dan does a great job and is refreshing. Allows us sports fans, frustrated older athletes, the ability to vent our frustrations. Dan, it also provides the opportunity to praise these athletes and their tremendous skills. Again, Dan a great site and thank you.

ric jefferies
ric jefferies
4 months ago

Thanks Dan for allowing me to vent my frustrations this season, I’ve enjoyed your take on the games, players and organization. The takeaway for me is the Pens organization was able to find and place talented players this year to cobble together a fighting chance.

Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
4 months ago

Dan the boys played their hearts out but it wasn’t good enough. Many changes are needed just for cap management. However this team will never get better as long as Sullivan is the coach. He still coaches like he has the fastest team in the league. When you combine lack of speed and toughness equals first round elimination. You might not like it but check the last 5 years.

Ujn Hunter
4 months ago

Toughness? Like not getting concussed when being elbowed to the head? Toughness? Like being able to keep your helmet on when a dirty player headlocks you and rips it off of you? Toughness? Get a grip.

Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
4 months ago
Reply to  Ujn Hunter

Hunter you get a damn grip. They are the softest team in Hockey period If you have a tough team maybe these things probably don’t happen. Hunter go watch the frickin ice capades.You don’t like my opinion? Tough shit! Go pound sand.

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
4 months ago

Stephen, absolutely accurate evaluation. Team is softest in league and well known to be soft. Getting old. Major changes needed. These yinzers still want Big Ben signed? High school QBS for 3 years had stronger arms. Raquel Welch wouldn’t be the same in Playboy today.

Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
4 months ago
Reply to  Ujn Hunter

Dan I am a fan since 67 and I read your site allday long thanks for your columns.

Ed Andrews
Ed Andrews
4 months ago

I have to say the officiation was pretty terrible and the rule sucks but it is a saftey issue, but maybe they can make it more friendly, I hope they resign Malkin and Rust, Matheson. But they need better defense men even though Letang was servicable. By the way You did a great Job Dan keep it up

Last edited 4 months ago by Ed Andrews
Tom
Tom
4 months ago
Reply to  Ed Andrews

Malkin’s over and leTang didn’t earn his high salary either. Rust gets a pay raise!

Cal
Cal
4 months ago

I want to be the first to say this for the off season.

NIKITA ZADOROV

Paul
Paul
4 months ago
Reply to  Cal

Would take Zadorov at the right number, but he’ll want more than $4 million/year. That’s a lot for a No. 5/6 d-man. Would like to see the wonks build a big, physical fourth line as well. Boyle (f healthy) and Delauriers would be a good start.

Last edited 4 months ago by Paul
Cal
Cal
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Love Deslauriers!

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
4 months ago
Reply to  Cal

Amen, maybe Burke can finally get him. Almost had him last year.

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
4 months ago
Reply to  Cal

Boy would be a great signing Cal. Plus a Righty Dman like Josh Manson would change our Defensive Core a little. Be refreshing to watch them kill penalties. Oh, yinzers, these are big strong Dman that actually clears out the crease area.

trackback

[…] Pitt: After blowing a 3-1 series lead and losing to the New York Rangers in seven games, are big changes coming for the Pittsburgh Penguins? […]

Steve Malik
Steve Malik
4 months ago

You guys couldn’t even find a pub that open to sorrow the loss
NY is supposed to be the city that never sleeps!!’

Steve Malik
Steve Malik
4 months ago

Yes Dan coverage all year long , I look forward to your columns early in the am…

Jack Mehoff
Jack Mehoff
4 months ago

Massive levels of cope and dangerously high sodium in this article. If the Penguins had outplayed the Rangers in regulation, it wouldn’t have gone to OT. They didn’t outplay them. They lost. They blew a 3-1 lead. Sad!

David
David
4 months ago

Will making BIG changes actually make the Penguins a better team?

Tim Curtis
Tim Curtis
4 months ago

Great work this season Sir!
Keep up the good work!