In overtime at Madison Square Garden in New York on Tuesday night, the Penguins had control of the game and looked poise to put the puck in the net and get out of the building with two points. A very tired Rangers 3-on-3 unit was struggling and Evgeni Malkin broke into the zone, galloping across the ice, as he has a way to do. Shortly afterwards, the puck was going the other direction and it was in the back of the Penguins net.
How did that happen so fast?
Despite taking on a 3-man unit basically by himself, Malkin was entering the zone with speed and pushing the defense back pretty easily.
He came very close to dangling his way around all three of them, but the puck just fell off of his stick.
While I understand the idea of what Malkin was thinking here, trying to get a pass into the shooting lane while his man was “open,” it didn’t work out at all, leading directly to a turnover.
This led to an odd-man rush the other way, with Adam Fox leading the charge.
He did a remarkable job of showing patience and backing off both Penguins in the defensive zone, allowing Kaapo Kakko to catch up to the play to his left.
Another half-second of patience opens up the play even more.
And just like that, it’s 3-2 Rangers for your final score.
Given the Penguins extremely slow start to this game and falling behind 2-0, the fact that they rallied back to force overtime and get a point out of it is definitely the silver lining. When considering that 3-on-3 overtime is not a thing that necessarily proves a lot about a team one way or the other, you definitely have to be more careful when it comes to managing the puck, given how much open ice is out there with every mistake. A missed shot can be a breakaway in a matter of no time. Let’s hope that the Penguins can start games better and finish them off in regulation.