|Pittsburgh controlled the action for much of the first 48 minutes of the game but their hard work did not translate on the scoreboard as the New York Rangers held a 2-1 lead on a pair of Artem Anisimov tallies with 10:45 to play in the third period. |
Such adversity did not deter the Penguins as their considerable depth and a rejuvenated power play stepped up yet again. Chris Conner, who was recalled earlier in the day from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, joined Sidney Crosby on the top line and did not look out of place, scoring the opening goal of the game in the first period and later notching the game-winning goal midway through the third period.
Conner was able to pick up his second career game-winning goal because the Penguins power play picked up another clutch goal a minute earlier. Evgeni Malkin’s slap shot from the right circle deflected off the stick of a Ranger and landed in the top-left corner of the cage behind Henrik Lundqvist. That goal made the Penguins 7-for-19 (37 percent) on the power play over their past four games.
|WHAT HAPPENED |
|NEW YORK (AP) - Chris Conner, recalled from the minor leagues earlier in the day, netted two goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins scored twice one minute apart in the third period to beat the slumping New York Rangers 4-2 on Monday night. |
After Artem Anisimov gave the Rangers their only lead 9:15 into the third with his second goal of the night, Evgeni Malkin got Pittsburgh even at 9:46 - 16 seconds into a power play. Conner then fired in a rebound of Sidney Crosby’s shot one minute later to put the Penguins back in front.
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT |
Marc-Andre Fleury shows no ill-effects of his finger fracture by robbing Brandon Dubinsky's shot in the second period.
(photo by Getty)
|What Worked Well: Offensive Zone Time |
The Penguins came away with back-to-back wins on this brief road swing because they got back to being a dominant puck-possession team in the offensive zone, particularly the trio of Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy. Pittsburgh’s cycling game was able to wear down the Rangers defense and that paid dividends in the latter half of the third period.
What Could Have Gone Better: Start of the Third Period
Pittsburgh improved to 9-1 on the season when the game is tied after two periods, but such a win didn’t not come easily. The third period began with Jordan Staal being sent to the box on a four-minute high-sticking penalty 20 seconds in, and Matt Cooke was penalized for roughing with 11 seconds to go in the Staal penalties. Pittsburgh killed off all three man-advantage situations, but New York used the momentum generated to take their only lead of the night on Artem Animisov’s goal shortly thereafter.
|When Chris Conner woke up on Monday morning he was in the American Hockey League. He finished the day with the first two-goal game of his NHL career. Conner was recalled by the Penguins on Monday afternoon after it was determined Bill Guerin could not play. |
Playing on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis, Conner got the Penguins on the board less than three minutes into the game when he beat Henrik Lundqvist to the blocker side. Conner later added the game-winning goal midway through the third period when he beat Lundqvist to the glove side following the rebound of a Crosby shot.
|SCORING SYNOPSIS |
|Sidney Crosby skated the puck over Rangers blue line after taking a chip pass off the boards from Kris Letang. Crosby found a streaking Chris Conner coming through the middle. Conner brought the puck to the left circle and beat Henrik Lundqvist with a wrist shot to the short side. Pittsburgh 1, New York 0. |
The Penguins looked like they had thwarted a Rangers break but Artem Anisimov swooped in to pick up the loose puck in the slot. Anisimov used a Penguin as a screen and beat Marc-Andre Fleury over his glove hand. Pittsburgh 1, New York 1.
Fleury appeared to have the puck frozen along the post to his left but the rubber was actually sitting along the goal line and Anisimov received credit for his second goal of the game when Fleury accidently nudged the puck over the line. New York 2, Pittsburgh 1.
Thirty-one seconds after Anisimov gave New York the lead, Evgeni Malkin tied the contest with a power-play goal. Malkin walked into a one-timer off a Sergei Gonchar feed and his shot deflected off the stick of a Ranger and landed in the top left corner of the cage behind Lundqvist. Pittsburgh 2, New York 2.
Pittsburgh regained the lead for good exactly one minute after the Malkin goal. Crosby’s initial shot was stopped by Lundqvist but Conner gathered the rebound and beat the Rangers netminder to the glove side from the bottom of the left circle. Pittsburgh 3, New York 2.
Pascal Dupuis used his stick to bat the puck out of midair at the Rangers blue line and then tossed it into the empty cage for his 12th goal of the season to close out the scoring. Pittsburgh 4, New York 2.
|INTRIGUING NOTABLES |
|Marc-Andre Fleury returned to the crease with a new catching glove offering him additional padding against the Rangers after missing four consecutive games with a finger fracture. He stopped 28 of 30 shots in 4-2 Penguins victory. Fleury nearly picked up his first assist of the season when he was given credit for the second assist on Chris Conner’s opening tally. The assist was later changed to Kris Letang. |
The return of Fleury was compounded with three more players exiting the lineup. Forward Bill Guerin and defenseman Alex Goligoski did not dress against the Rangers and are listed as day-to-day with undisclosed injuries. Winger Eric Godard left the game after one shift. He got tangled up with one of the Rangers behind the New York cage after attempting a shot in the first period.
With Goligoski out of the lineup, veteran defenseman Martin Skoula returned to action against the Rangers. Skoula saw 14:56 minutes of ice time and finished the game plus-1 with one blocked shot. Kris Letang replaced Goligoski on the top power-play unit and picked up an assist on Evgeni Malkin’s third period power-play goal.
|GAME NOTES |
|> Scoring Summary: |
PIT, C. Conner (1), 2:47 1st period: Penguins 1, Rangers 0
NYR, A. Anisimov (8), 13:04 2nd period: Penguins 1, Rangers 1
NYR, A. Anisimov (9), 9:15 3rd period: Rangers 2, Penguins 1
PIT, E. Malkin PP (18), 9:46 3rd period: Penguins 2, Rangers 2
PIT, C. Conner (2), 10:46 3rd period: Penguins 3, Rangers 2
> The Penguins now have a record of 33-20-1 on the season. Their 33 wins are fourth-most (tied) in the league. They now have 67 points on the season and have moved within two points of the first-place New Jersey Devils (69).
> Pittsburgh’s 4-2 victory over the Rangers improved them to 4-0 against New York on the season. Overall, the Penguins have won seven-consecutive games over the Rangers.
> The Penguins’ victory was their 18th of the season away from Mellon Arena, most in the NHL.
> Since head coach Dan Bylsma took over on Feb. 15 of last season the Penguins have an overall record of 51-23-5 and are 26-13-3 on the road.
> The Penguins improved to 5-4 in the back end of back-to-back games. They have posted an overall record of 10-8 in back-to-back situations.
> Evgeni Malkin’s power-play goal gave the Penguins at least one power-play tally in five of their previous seven games. They have a record of 23-2 on the season when they score at least once on the man-advantage.
> The Penguins had six different players finish with multiple-point nights against the Rangers: Chris Conner (2G), Evgeni Malkin (1G-1A), Pascal Dupuis (1G-1A), Sidney Crosby (2A), Kris Letang (2A) and Sergei Gonchar (2A).
> Sidney Crosby continues to torch the Rangers this season. His two assists on Monday night to give him 11 points (6G-5A) in four contests. Crosby ranks third in the NHL with 67 points (33G-34A). He now has a four-game point streak (3G-7A).
> Evgeni Malkin’s two-point night (1G-1A) improves his point streak to five games. During the stretch Malkin has picked up 10 points (5G-5A). His 18 goals rank second on the team.
> Sergei Gonchar’s two assists against New York give him multiple-point efforts in three of his past four games. Gonchar has notched six points (1G-5A) over his past four games. Gonchar led the Penguins with seven blocked shots against the Rangers.
> Pascal Dupuis continues to look good on the top line with Sidney Crosby. Dupuis’ two points (1G-1A) against the Rangers give him eight points (3G-5A) over his past eight games.
> Marc-Andre Fleury improved to 26-14-1 on the season with his third-consecutive victory. His 26 wins rank sixth (tied) in the NHL.
|THREE STARS ||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT |
| || |
|1. C. Conner |
2. A. Anisimov
3. S. Crosby