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Penguins/Rangers Recap: Rust and Crosby each score twice, Pens trip up NY

The Pens score early and then often to beat the Rangers 5-3

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Pregame

Illness continues to work through the Penguins, Tristan Jarry and John Ludvig are out from it. Michael Bunting is back and Emil Bemstrom cycles in for Sam Poulin.

First period

The Pens set the tone early. Bryan Rust stays hot with a quick goal 18 seconds into the contest.

Pittsburgh keeps going, Sidney Crosby puts an unreal tip on a shot and it goes in! The Rangers attempt to challenge for he play being offside but they don’t win it.

Shots are 10-6 NYR, but goals go 2-0 to the visitors.

Second period

The second comes and goes with no goals. Pittsburgh kills off penalties to Evgeni Malkin and Erik Karlsson, the Rangers avoid damage on a penalty on their own.

The Rangers again out-shoot the Pens in the second period, 11-7. Alex Nedeljkovic keeps the sheet blank through 40.

Third period

Pittsburgh pads the lead, all the Rangers players are going north and the puck somehow gets behind all of them and Emil Bemstrom is in all alone from the red line in. He lifts the puck up and over Igor Shesterkin, 3-0 is the lead.

Less than a minute later, the Rangers finally strike back and get on the board. Adam Fox feeds Kaapo Kakko for a big shot that Nedeljkovic almost, but can’t quite keep out of the net.

New York closes the gap, Mika Zibanajed’s shot goes wide but pops off the end board and is right there for Jack Roslovic to slam in. 3-2 game with 3:07 to go.

The Rangers pull the goalie but it doesn’t pay off. Rust nets his second goal of the game. 4-2.

Undaunted, NYR pulls the goalie again. Crosby scores his second goal of the game. 5-2.

Some thoughts

  • Gotta give it up for Crosby and Rust in this game. Both scored two goals and put their stamp on the game right from the beginning.
  • Sounded like the bug going through the Pens’ room is really doing a number on them. Drew O’Connor apparently sucked it up to play and did his best to keep it together and show up and play at all.
  • It sounded like Jarry would have played this game if he wasn’t sick. Makes Nedeljkovic’s performance all the more impressive to play so well and win this game.
  • Jarry didn’t even dress or serve as a backup, so you have to wonder what that means for tomorrow. Since Jarry was out, the Pens have an emergency exception if they want to bring up a goalie for next game. Could be time to see Joel Blomqvist in the NHL, and maybe even playing being as Nedeljkovic worked today.
  • Crosby’s three points pushes him past a point/game and ties the Wayne Gretzky mark.
  • Pens now five points out of a playoff spot, and six points behind Flyers for third place (whispers: and with two games in hand).

The finish hasn’t truly gotten interesting just quite yet, but Rust and Crosby aren’t letting the Pens slump away before the season is actually over.