|Based upon the way the Penguins have come out flying since the Olympic break, the opposition is going to have to play a near-perfect game to beat them. Pittsburgh improved to 2-0 since the season resumed on Tuesday thanks to a 5-4 overtime victory over the New York Rangers. The Penguins set a team record for shots in a single game on the road with 55, compared to only 16 for the Rangers. New York had only one shot in the third period and zero in the extra session. |
New York has to feel very fortunate to get a point out of this game. Although they held leads of 1-0, 3-2 and 4-2, there was never a doubt the Penguins were going to come back and win this game. Both teams played as if this were a playoff contest, with the Penguins outhitting the Rangers, 50-41, in easily the most-physical game of the season.
Head coach Dan Bylsma’s squad never blinked when Brandon Dubinsky put the Rangers ahead by two with 7:11 to go in the second period. Two of the key moments of the game occurred when Brent Johnson, who replaced Marc-Andre Fleury following the Dubinsky goal, made not one but two sparkling saves on Erik Christensen in the final minutes of the second period. They would be the final good scoring chances the Rangers would get.
The victory gives Pittsburgh a 6-18-2 record on the season when they trail after 40 minutes. If that record doesn’t sound impressive (and let me tell you it is), consider the Rangers are 0-20-2 on the season when facing the same situation.
|WHAT HAPPENED |
|NEW YORK (AP) - Jordan Staal scored a power-play goal 3:42 into overtime on Pittsburgh's 55th shot at Henrik Lundqvist, and the Penguins outlasted the New York Rangers 5-4 on Thursday night. |
Evgeni Malkin, who earlier in the overtime advantage struck a goal post and was robbed by Lundqvist's outstretched glove save, fired a shot from the left circle that bounced in off Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky and Staal. It was the third Penguins goal that went in off a Rangers player.
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT |
Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal celebrate Evgeni Malkin's overtime winner
(photo by Getty)
|What Worked Well: Shots on Goal |
Henrik Lundqvist is easily the Rangers MVP and he showed why tonight. Technically, he is as good as anyone in the business, and he’s pretty effective when he has to be acrobatic as well. Pittsburgh didn’t get frustrated as Lundqvist made save after save, they instead continued firing shots from all angles. On this night, the Penguins needed all of their team-record 55 road shots.
What Could Have Gone Better: Penalty Kill
It isn’t often that the Penguins penalty-killing unit receives criticism. However, on a night where Pittsburgh had greater than a 3-to-1 shots advantage, allowing the Rangers to go 2-for-3 on the man-advantage was critical to keeping New York in the game. However, when the Penguins needed a huge kill a minute after tying the game, 4-4, late in the third period, the team stepped up and got the job done.
|On a night when the entire team was sensational against the Rangers, Jordan Staal stuck out above the rest. The 21-year-old center led the way for the Penguins with his third three-point night (1G-2A) of the season. |
Staal made a great individual play in the first period to give the Penguins their only lead until his overtime tally when he stole the puck in the neutral zone and scored off a fortuitous bounce. He also picked up a helpers on Chris Kunitz’s first-period tally and Evgeni Malkin's game-winner in overtime. Staal won 62 percent of his faceoffs (13-8) and established a career high with seven shots. NOTE: Staal was originally credited for the game-winner but it was later changed to Malkin.
|SCORING SYNOPSIS |
|Artem Anisimov, who has now scored three of his 10 goals against the Penguins, opened the scoring 2:17 minutes into the game by taking a pass from Sean Avery, skating down the left flank and unleashing a laser over the glove of Marc-Andre Fleury into the far upper corner. New York 1, Pittsburgh 0. |
Given a golden opportunity with a two-man advantage shortly thereafter, Pittsburgh made the Rangers pay. Henrik Lundqvist made the initial save on a drive from the point by Sergei Gonchar, but Chris Kunitz was right there at the side of the cage to throw the puck into an open net. Pittsburgh 1, New York 1.
Jordan Staal, who had a dominant game offensively, gave Pittsburgh their only lead until overtime. He stole the puck from Sean Avery in the neutral zone and broke down the right flank. Staal threw a backhander towards the net which was stopped by Lundqvist, but the rebound went off the body of the Rangers Brian Boyle into the goal. Pittsburgh 2, New York 1.
New York evened the score just before the first intermission thanks to a power-play goal of their own. Chris Drury threw a turning backhander behind Fleury from his knees at the 14:39 mark. Pittsburgh 2, New York 2.
Michal Rozsival scored his second goal of the season, both against the Penguins, just 2:03 into the second period when he took a pass from Vinny Prospal in the right circle and beat Fleury top shelf over the glove. New York 3, Pittsburgh 2.
Brandon Dubinsky stretched that Rangers’ lead with a fluky power-play tally at 12:49 of the second period. The Rangers center took a shot from the top of the left circle which glanced off the post to the left of Fleury, hit off the Penguins goaltender’s back and trickled over the goal line. New York 4, Pittsburgh 2.
Pittsburgh cut into New York’s lead heading into the final period as Kunitz made a great lead pass from his own blue line to Sidney Crosby at the top of the Rangers zone. Crosby threaded a pass to Mike Rupp skating down the left seam and the winger sneaked a shot past the blocker of Lundqvist for his 12th goal of the season. New York 4, Pittsburgh 3.
The Penguins caught a well-earned break to tie the score 12 minutes into the final period. Alex Goligoski couldn’t catch a pass from Kunitz, but he stayed with the puck as it bounced to the far corner. Goligoski quickly threw the loose puck towards the net, where it went off the skate of Marc Staal and jumped past Lundqvist. Pittsburgh 4, New York 4.
Evgeni Malkin drew an overtime penalty against Wade Redden and then made him pay with seconds remaining on the minor. Malkin took a pass from Gonchar at the right point and unleashed a howitzer past the glove of Lundqvist for his 22nd goal of the season. Pittsburgh 5, New York 4.
|INTRIGUING NOTABLES |
|Alexei Ponikarovsky, acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula on Tuesday night, was not in the lineup against the Rangers. He is still working on obtaining a working visa to enter the United States. He is expected make his Penguins debut on Saturday against the Dallas Stars at Mellon Arena. |
Bill Guerin was a late scratch for the Penguins after experiencing back spasms. Guerin also sat out against the Rangers back on Jan. 25 at Madison Square Garden. He was replaced in the lineup by Jay McKee as the Penguins went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen against New York.
Marc-Andre Fleury had gone 18 days between game action thanks to the Olympic break. He appeared a little rusty against the Rangers. Fleury allowed four goals on 12 shots before being replaced by Brent Johnson 12:49 into the second period. It had to be tough for Fleury, who served as Canada’s No. 3 netminder at the Olympics, going almost three weeks without seeing meaningful shots.
|GAME NOTES |
|> Scoring Summary: |
NYR, A. Anisimov (10), 2:17 1st period: Rangers 1, Penguins 0
PIT, C. Kunitz PP (9), 6:03 1st period: Penguins 1, Rangers 1
PIT, J. Staal (17), 9:58 1st period: Penguins 2, Rangers 1
NYR, C. Drury PP (11), 14:39 1st period: Penguins 2, Rangers 2
NYR, M. Rozsival (2), 2:03 2nd period: Rangers 3, Penguins 2
NYR, B. Dubinsky PP (15), 12:49 2nd period: Rangers 4, Penguins 2
PIT, M. Rupp (12), 14:23 2nd period: Rangers 4, Penguins 3
PIT, A. Goligoski (7), 11:59 3rd period: Penguins 4, Rangers 4
PIT, E. Malkin PP (22), 3:42 Overtime: Penguins 5, Rangers 4
> The Penguins now have a record of 38-22-4 on the season, good for 80 points. They move one point ahead of the idle New Jersey Devils into first place in the Atlantic Division.
> Pittsburgh’s 5-4 overtime victory over the Rangers allows them to finish the season unbeaten against New York (5-0-1). They have now won eight of the past nine regular-season games against the Rangers.
> Pittsburgh won all three games at Madison Square Garden, only the third time in franchise history they have gone undefeated at MSG in a single-season (2-0 in 1976-77; 1-0 in 1994-95).
> Evgeni Malkin’s game-winning goal in overtime extended his point streak to 15 games, tying a career high. During the steak Malkin has 24 points (9G-15A).
> Jordan Staal’s three point (1G-2A) night was his third three-point effort of the season (Jan. 5 vs. Atlanta, 2G-1A; Jan. 14 at Edmonton, 3A). For the season, Staal ranks third on the team in both goals (17) and points (42).
> Sidney Crosby extended his scoring streak to four games with his assist on Mike Rupp’s goal. Over his past 20 games Crosby has picked up 18 goals and 31 points. He also has points in 12 of his past 14 games for a total of 23 (12G-11A) over the span.
> Chris Kunitz quietly had a three point night (1G-2A) against the Rangers. Kunitz has picked up five points (3G-2A) over his past five games.
> Sergei Gonchar now has a five-game point streak after getting two helpers on Thursday. Gonchar has picked up six points (1G-5A) during the span.
> Alex Goligoski’s game-tying goal in the third period was his seventh goal of the season and his first in 37 games.
> Mike Rupp also ended a long goal-less drought when he scored his 12th goal of the season in the second period, his first tally in 19 games.
> Pascal Dupuis did not have a point against New York but he did set a new career high with 10 shots on goal.
> Brent Johnson came on in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury and stopped all four shots he faced to pick up his second-straight victory. Johnson has won four of his past five decisions.
|THREE STARS ||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT |
| || |
|1. J. Staal |
2. A. Goligoski
3. C. Drury
|"We did some really good things. We deserved |
that one. We felt like it was only
a matter of time before we
were back into it.
- Sidney Crosby