Pittsburgh is getting some good news with Jason Zucker returning quickly from injury. But Josh Archibald is unavailable with an injury of his own, so Danton Heinen slips out of the lineup and stays in the game.
I hope you didn’t miss the launch of this game. Penguins rush up ice and Jake Guentzel shoots. Igor Shesterkin backs Ricard Rakell for an A-rank opportunity in the near future, but Shesterkin rocks him. The puck goes the other way and Chris Kreider looks to center, which hits possibly Marcus Peterson and flies into the net. A really tough break with the Pens trailing 1-0 after only 22 seconds into the game, after they could have easily scored the first goal of the game sooner.
PO Joseph scored the first penalty of the game soon after and it looked like the Pens were in survival mode right out of the gates. Fortunately for them, they survive and kill it without firing a shot.
Moments later, Peterson drives to the box, but the Rangers then give Pittsburgh a power play. Evgeni Malkin hits a brilliant pass to Sidney Crosby, but the defense just blocks Crosby, who wants to shoot for a shot instead of a shot.
It was a story of two periods (even though it’s only one period) to break things open, with the Pens scoring six of the first seven shots and NYR answering with seven of the last eight to close things out. 1-0 overall on the board and 8-7 in shots on goal, both in favor of the Rangers.
Early in the second, Kasperi Kapanen heads to the box to give New York a third power play fairly early in the game, but the strong Pens PK does the job once again.
Zucker gives Brian Rusty the Pens’ best chance of the game, but Shesterkin stays out of his crease and makes it look easy while covering it with his glove.
Pittsburgh doesn’t get shots off, but they keep digging. Zucker and Malkin get some juices flowing in the o-zone, and then on the next shift, Raquel is penalized for Pittsburgh’s second power play. It passes. Malkin rips a shot from the left side and Rakell’s screen knock hits Shesterkin. 1-1 game with 5:36 left in the second.
The Pens keep it up, Crosby feeds Jake Guentzel in front and Shesterkin makes a great save. The Rangers take a revenge penalty to get the Pens back out on the power play, and the big boys are feeling it at this point. It leads to the second set, but the Pens get there. Zhang tips in Joseph’s shot, a predictable late cross-check from Ryan Lindgren, who is a little late this time. Pens 2-1.
Shots in the second end at 10-10, a reversal from the first where the Rangers had the better of the early going, but Pittsburgh completely dominated the game, with two goals on the power play and a lot of, err, power;
Jarry stays sharp to deny Kreider after he sneaks behind during a lane change and is left alone.
About halfway through, Guentzel hits a perfect pass to Crosby, Seed steps out to the base and beats Shesterkin in the five-hole to extend the Pens’ lead to 3-1.
It doesn’t take long, Trocheck puts the puck right through Joseph, then takes advantage of Ruhwedel taking himself out of the game with a slide to easily feed the puck to Kreider. Kreider lifts it over Jarry for his second goal of the game to put NYR right back up 3-2 in Pittsburgh.
New York pulls the goalie with two minutes left. Mika Zibanejad shoots, Jarry is there to deny him. Brian Dumoulin is then lucky not to be called for tripping Zibanejad as he drives towards the net.
The Rangers are running out of time before their pressure can pay off and Pittsburgh is skating away with the win.
- A really strange first 10 minutes for Tristan Jarry in this game. He had no chance with a deflected shot just seconds later, then didn’t see another shot on goal in the first half of the first half. Well, he saw Vincent Trocheck take a shot as well, but it hit the post and went wide. It was a bit of an instant karma night. It’s very strange to see a goalkeeper not make a single save for 10 minutes and not really have a chance to do so.
- Tonight marked the third time this month that Jarry has conceded a goal in the first minute of a game (against Columbus and Dallas as well). He is 3-0 in those games and has since gone 0, 0 and 1 (with Kreider’s late goal tonight) and won all three games. Sometimes the best attribute for goalkeepers is to shrug it off and move on, and Jarry has really excelled in that regard in the most impressive way. When it doesn’t start great, it didn’t transfer at all.
- After playing Carolina last game, it was very interesting to contrast that, seeing how the Pens stack up against another top-ranked Metropolitan team in the Rangers. (And it will be doubly helpful as the Pens play the Hurricanes on Thursday to quickly see that contrasting style again.) NYR is a very fast team. They look to counter the rush, use their speed and skill, which goes far beyond their first two lines. Carolina is more detailed, closing the boards on the sockets, making every inch a battle, more deliberate and direct. NYR uses more cross or seam passes, less controlled but more explosive. There is no right or wrong, a segment of CAR-NYR-CAR really shows the opposite ends of the spectrum in how the two teams can approach things based on their different talents and strengths.
- Penny PK scored not one, not two, but three penalties early in the game, losing each time 1-0. Situationally, it seemed like a lasting memory that was a problem in last season’s playoffs when NYR’s dangerous power play picked its spots and made Pittsburgh pay. Didn’t happen in this one.
- This was a game where you missed the energy of Li’l Josh Archibald flying around and throwing his body into the boards and other players on the brink. It’s a shame he was too bumped up to play tonight (although it doesn’t look too serious) his absence is missed. Although PK was fine without him, this type of play against a physical division opponent is why the Pens wanted Archibald to bring that element in the first place.
- Meanwhile, getting Zucker back was a big boost. The Malkin line operates at a completely different and better level with him there.
- It’s great to see Rust save himself for a glorious opportunity in front of him and not score, following up and later scoring in front of the net. He’s had a few assists lately, but this was his first goal in six games. And just eighth in 32 games this year, after scoring 35 goals a season across the entire 2019/20-2021/22 season.
- Good night for several series. Malkin scores for ninth straight game (3G+10A) and eighth straight game with PPG for the Pens.
- Pittsburgh snaps NYR’s seven-game winning streak. They were at their best, but New York fell short. It’s always good to beat a playoff-type team that has been playing their best hockey of the season so far, and that was the case tonight.
- Zibanejad was shot in the last minute of the game. He’s so good when he’s on his game. Kreider scored twice. Artemi Panarin narrowly missed on several shots. Trocheck is a good player but looked very dangerous in his first PIT/NYR game. Rangers/Penguins games are fun because the game swings both ways and each team has stars capable of completely taking over the game when they build momentum. Tonight, Crosby, Malkin, Rakell, Rust and Guentzel found the net more against quality goalies on both ends. The next time? Well, it’s worth joining to find out.
A very satisfying win for the Pens, who at least temporarily leapfrogged the Rangers in the standings tonight as a result of this regulation. Pittsburgh has one more game to go before the break, and they’ll be looking for some redemption from the team that last beat them at home in Carolina on Thursday.