The Penguins showed up today against the Rangers and kept clawing back. 3 times they would score and 3 times NYR would answer. Luckily a lucky goal late in the 3rd period tipped the balance and gave Pittsburgh a well deserved win.
Marc-Andre Fleury was out of his mind, and good thing, because the rest of the team wasn't sharp. Take Ian Cole here, who while on the PK get left in the dust by Chris Kreider , stopped by the patented poke-check of MAF.
Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 13, 2016
Despite the Rangers throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the Pens early, it would be Pittsburgh to strike first on the power play. Giant baby Henrik Lundqvist can't control a Sidney Crosby rebound and Patric Hornqvist banks it off his countryman from behind the net.
The Rangers would tie it after a massive brainfart by Chris Kunitz, who had a pass/shoot option, chose to pass and it was a bad one, behind Trevor Daley. The Penguins were changing behind the day and NYR quickly went the other way for a tap in for Kreider.
The Penguins re-take the lead courtesy of a Justin Schultz point shot that Conor Sheary makes a great redirection on.
That lead would be short-lived, Rangers tie it on their first shot of the second period almost 9 minutes into the period. Matt Cullen loses the opening PK faceoff, Kreider plants himself in front of Fleury and a Derick Brassard shot hits off Olli Maatta and goes in.
Conor Sheary gets his second goal of the game on a nice breakout by the Penguins. Sheary uses his speed to get way ahead of Kevin Hayes, Tom Kuhnhackl makes a nice little chip pass and Dan Boyle runs out of time. Nice shot by Sheary at full speed to beat Lundqvist and make it 3-2 Pens.
The Rangers tie it in the 3rd period after Kris Letang and Olli Maatta play on the wrong-side, and Ryan McDonaugh wraps one around on Fleury. Probably one all 3 Pens would want to be better on that play.
The Pens though kept battling and took their 4th one-goal lead of the game courtesy of Marc Staal derp'ing in a Matt Cullen centering pass from behind the net that handcuffed and went by Lundqvist.
Bryan Rust does Bryan Rust things to beat Dan Boyle to the puck (cancelling an icing) and the puck gets to Crosby who flops it in for the empty net goal to seal the deal.
- Total domination early by the Rangers, getting the game's first 4 scoring chances in under 2 minutes. Fleury stood tall and then Sidney Crosby put a puck on Conor Sheary's stick for a wide-open net and he couldn't finish.
- Sheary would of course redeem himself with a deflection goal and then a breakaway. Scores the tough one, misses the easier one, that's sometimes how it goes, huh?
- Interestingly, the goals didn't buy Sheary much ice-time. Only 4:20 through the first 2 periods, the least on the whole team. When he has the only ES goals, what's it take to earn a couple more shifts, coach? Sheary would get some time on the Crosby line after Kunitz went to the penalty box.
- Big moment early when NYR got a 5v3 power play for 27 seconds, but the Pens would stand tall and keep the game scoreless at that point. Could have been a huge turning point if they didn't.
- Welcome to the NHL Dominik Simon. Played in a limited 4th line role and registered an assist on the Cullen go-ahead goal in the 3rd period. Not a bad debut at all.
- The Pens, by the way, become the only team in the league so far to have two 2015 draftees (Simon and Daniel Sprong) appear in an NHL regular season game. Just a little trivia.
- After a frantic first the Pens got better and more settled in the 2nd, only allowing 2 NY SOG in the middle frame.
- Very encouraging to see the Penguins generate 3 ES goals (before the empty netter) from no Crosby/Letang contributions. With Evgeni Malkin hurt, this team is going to need depth players to generate offense and Sheary, Cullen, Kuhnackl and Schultz all came through today.
- Still a game high 8 shots for Crosby, who played well and salted the game away, just necessary that he gets the support needed. Did today.
- Rangers benched Kevin Hayes after Sheary raced by him for the goal.
- Penguins extend their perfect record when leading after 2 periods to a league-best 29-0-0 now. Didn't come without drama since NYR tied the game up in the 3rd, but the Pens were playing from tied/ahead all game.
Huge win for Pittsburgh, who end their 4 game road-trip at 3-1-0. The grind continues in a big way with a home date against NYI on Tuesday night.