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Recap: Pens hold off Rangers desperate push, win 4-2

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It wasn’t pretty late but Tristan Jarry stands on his head in the third period, and the Penguins find a way to escape with a 4-2 win over the Rangers

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

Pregame

Tristan Jarry back in net, Evan Rodrigues bumps up to a top-six role to replace the injured Jared McCann. And quite an interesting last 36 hours for Colton Sceviour who goes from COVID list to waivers to unclaimed to off COVID list to in the lineup.

First period

Great start for the Penguins who have 12 of the first 15 shots on goal and generally control the play. They get a power play and don’t score but get some looks on net.

Then, the puck goes in the Pens net with Jack Johnson on the ice. Certainly not a new development in the past few years. But...wait. Johnson is on the Rangers now. And it’s his slapshot from distance that ends up scoring. 1-0 New York.

Before the end of the first period the Pens get it back. The Rangers can’t get out of their zone with a bit of bad luck when Ryan Lindgren’s stick breaks. Jake Guentzel has the puck on his stick with Johnson defending him. You know what happens next. 1-1.

Shots end up 16-7 Pens, who get a well-deserved equalizer after Keith Kinkaid did Keith Kinkaid things and find a way to frustrate Pittsburgh for a while.

Second period

Mike Matheson takes a tripping call early in the period, but it’s Pittsburgh who scores shorthanded. Great job holding onto the puck by Brandon Tanev and Teddy Blueger, and without much resistance Blueger swoops in towards the net, dekes backhand and his shot somehow leaks under the pads of Kinkaid and makes it over the line. 2-1 Pens.

A dominant shift by the Evgeni Malkin line puts the puck in the net in the last minute of the period. Malkin dishes to Kasperi Kapanen who dekes around Adam Fox and whips the puck over Kinkaid. 3-1 Pens.

Shots in the second are 13-10 NYR, who stabilized a bit more, but it was Pittsburgh who scored both the goals in the period to pull away.

Third period

Another bad start to a period for Pittsburgh, this time it’s Sidney Crosby who gets a penalty for holding. New York’s power play cashes in when Ryan Strome gets the puck to the net and it deflects off the skate of John Marino and straight past the goalie. 3-2 now.

New York keeps pushing and takes their timeout with 2:41 left. NYR almost scores after Letang turns the puck over. Then Crosby hits the post on what might have sealed the deal.

Jarry makes a 10-bell save on Pavel Buchnevich on the door step as the Rangers pull their goalie and put an all out effort to tie the game.

Bryan Rust hits a post on the empty net because nothing can come easy....Until Crosby collects the puck in his zone, fights to gain the red line and flips a long range shot into the open cage. It’s the Pens very first shot of the period. Incredibly, it’s the period’s first, last and only goal.

Shots in the 3rd are a whopping 15-1 in favor of the Rangers. But they couldn’t pierce Jarry and lose.

Some thoughts

  • Jack Johnson’s shot might have glanced off Marino, and the Strome goal definitely did. Just a house of horrors for Marino defending in his own zone right now and it’s including some bad luck too.
  • The growing chemistry between Kapanen and Malkin is really obvious and very fun to watch them work their magic in the offensive zone. It’s a great development for the Penguins who need more than one line to be a scoring threat, and right now that second line is bringing it.
  • Blueger now has as many shorthanded goals this season (2) as even strength goals (2). It’s always a great thing when the PK can chip in the offense.
  • The Pens didn’t register a shot on goal in the first 19 minutes of the third period. That’s not great to see them again sit too far back and start coasting again, especially after blowing a big lead last week.
  • It was a nice game for the embattled fourth line to show some signs of life. Anthony Angello was visible with 6 hits, finishing every chance he got to use his body. Mark Jankowski had two shots on goal, which is something at least.
  • Tristan Jarry was awesome in the last flourish to protect the lead. His teammates looked like they were stuck in the mud, spinning their wheels. They needed their goalie to get the regulation win out of this one, and the goalie came through big time.
  • Pens improve to 5-1 on the season against the Rangers on the heels of this week’s mini-sweep of the two game set. Four nice points to put in the bank.

The Pens move on for two road games against the last place Buffalo Sabres. But, at press time, the Sabres are giving the Flyers a game right now. After the last 20 minutes, the Penguins should not need the reminder that no win is an easy win in this league nowadays, but the lesson surely will be taught time and again..