Welcome back, with a full shield, Ian Cole, less than two weeks after losing some teeth to blocking a shot. Cole slots in for Matt Hunwick who has an undisclosed injury and hits IR so he will be out at least until the weekend.
The fans are hardly in their seats when Phil Kessel scores the classic Kessel-on-the-rush goals, shooting against his body and beating Henrik Lundqvist up high.
Isn't it beautiful? pic.twitter.com/A4ISywS50P— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 17, 2017
The Pens get a couple more chances early before NYR even has a shot on goal, but no dice. The Rangers come back with a 3v1 of their own but Matt Murray makes a nice save on Jesper Fast.
Pittsburgh scores again following a beautiful play by Olli Maatta to dispossess a Ranger down low, then float a nice long pass to Carl Hagelin for a 2 on 1. Hagelin looked off the fast and shot over Lundqvist’s short-side for his first goal of the season and to extend the score to 2-0.
He waits... He waits... HE SCORES SHORT SIDE! pic.twitter.com/5N0ZI3aKds— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 17, 2017
Shots 12-10 Pens after one period, which shockingly featured 18 whole minutes at even strength! Woohoo!
Pittsburgh gets a power play but can’t score, NYR shows some life when David Desharnais slips behind Kris Letang, collects a puck then rifles a nice shot by Murray to make it 2-1.
David Desharnais absolutely snipes one and the Rangers are back in it. Down 2-1 #NYR pic.twitter.com/6Jwk7E95Ni— Fitz (@FitzyGSN) October 18, 2017
The bad news continues, Sidney Crosby takes an offensive-zone double-minor penalty for high-sticking and the Rangers cash in on the first part of it to tie the game at 2. Then on the second half they take the lead with a screened shot getting by Murray to make it 3-2 NYR.
J.T. Miller joins the party with a power-play goal from the point. Rangers look like a team that just got screamed at for 20 minutes #NYR pic.twitter.com/UiQp95Lshm— Fitz (@FitzyGSN) October 18, 2017
Crosby didn’t learn much a lesson, taking another o-zone slash penalty, followed immediately by Hagelin getting a slashing penalty on the ensuing faceoff leading to a an almost full 2 minute 3v5. Amazingly Pittsburgh would survive without conceding another goal.
The Pens tie the game on a power play of their own with Kessel making a nice centering pass for Patric Hornqvist to do what he does and score from right in front. 3-3.
Unlike the first period plenty of special teams here with several bad Crosby penalties but the Pens at least salvage a goal late to tie it up.
Shots 23-18 overall for the Pens.
Some high octane hockey and the Rangers take another lead with 12:00 left when Kris Letang drops to stop a Michael Grabner pass, but doesn’t, so Grabner’s all alone with an empty net to finish off the open net.
Miller gets the puck up to Grabner. Desharnais and Grabner with a beautiful give-and-go and the Rangers are up 4-3 #NYR pic.twitter.com/KvoPKHHkDi— Fitz (@FitzyGSN) October 18, 2017
In the last minute of the game Sidney Crosby operates on a different plane than humanity, smart enough to wait for the Ranger to touch the puck so it doesn’t get whistled as a hand pass, then lifts puck into Lundqvist from behind the net with no angle to tie the game.
That Crosby guy is pretty good at hockey, eh? pic.twitter.com/drLRT3YHKX— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 18, 2017
The Pens put ‘em away early, after an icing call the Rangers defenseman clears the puck right into Kessel, who has an easy pass to Evgeni Malkin who has an even easier wide open net to end the game with. 5-4 Pens in OT.
Penguins win in OT…tough look for Ryan McDonagh pic.twitter.com/evQrejus64— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 18, 2017
- Greg McKegg took an unnecessary offensive zone penalty in the first period. Didn’t lead to a goal against, but annoyed enough to merit a reference. A lot of Pens fans are still very high on McKegg, and rightfully so for some reasons, but a player like him who’s never made it in the NHL needs to be a little more attentive to the details, especially when he’s getting auditioned as a key PK’er. Every player has some good and some bad to deal with.
- And of course, when you’re talking ill-advised penalties tonight, you’re pointing the finger at Crosby who took 6 minutes of totally avoidable PIMs. The captain of course adds so much on the normal night and every night that it’s no use to beat him up too much (see: goal, last minute) but certainly well worth mentioning the ongoing season narrative to take less stick penalties and old cappy takes 3 himself.
- Maatta’s excellent season continues with his 7th point the 7th game, a lot of attention was paid to the long pass made up to spring Hagelin on the 2v1, but in the seconds before Maatta did just as well to gain control of the puck from the Ranger and then have the vision and presence of mind to make the long lead pass for Hagelin. Well done all around.
- Good job by Hagelin with a team-high 6 shots on goal and rewarded with his first game of the year. He always seems to have even extra in the tank for the games against his former team.
- Pens went from up 2-0 to down 3-2 in 2:30 of game time in that second period. Life comes at you fast in the NHL, especially when taking a double-minor penalty and then 2 penalties in rapid succession.
- And, then of course there’s the happy ending with the team 55 seconds and an empty net situations away from losing in regulation. Then Crosby and Malkin each score and 0 points in the standings turns into 2 points for the night. Not pretty but at the end of the year they don’t ask “how?”, they ask “how many?”
- Liked the overall play of the Rust-Malkin-Kessel line tonight, from the goal on the first shift on in all looked dangerous. Twice Rust went crashing into the net, showing a willingness there to open up room by giving up his body and drive to to the goal with the puck to keep the defense backing up.
- And that was more for style of play than results, but results were there too with Malkin having a 4 point night (1g+3a) and Kessel having 3 himself (1g+2a)
- One thing not really working out all that much is Ryan Reaves’ playing time. A lot of special teams time tonight, which he isn’t going to play much of but only 5 shifts and 3:20 total. Will be interesting to see for how long he’s an everyday player when he’s not being used as an every 4th shift player and the Rangers don’t have anyone who will fight him, is he going to keep getting a jersey over guys like Scott Wilson and Josh Archibald?
- Dumber move: Kevin Shattenkirk barely tapping the puck for no reason so Crosby could play it? Or Ryan McDonagh going up the middle with the clear attempt instead of up the wall into space? Both were pretty bad, but hey, Pens fans will take em.