It may have been about eight hours early Saturday, but the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrated the end of 2005 in style – with a 4-3 overtime win over the New York Rangers at Mellon Arena.
The Penguins (10-19-8) dominated play. They limited the Rangers (22-12-5) to 17 shots on the afternoon. All three of New York’s goals came on the power play.
“We deserved to win. We played well and the guys stuck to the plan,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “We only allowed 17 shots. I am really impressed. It’s a good team win; that is why I am very happy about the way that we played.”
Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby continued his scoring tear. He had an assist and scored the game-winner in overtime. In his last six games, the rookie has five goals and 10 assists. For the season, the 18-year-old has 42 points (19+23) and trails Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin by two points in the rookie scoring race.
“We played a strong game. They have a great power play, but five-on-five we didn’t really give them too much,” he said. “That’s a strong offensive team and we did a good job.”
Tomas Surovy and Jaromir Jagr traded goals in the first period.
Surovy scored 1:35 into the contest. On a two-on-one, he took a Crosby pass on the left wing and wristed a shot past Henrik Lundqvist. Ziggy Palffy earned the other assist.
New York tied the game on a two-man advantage. Jagr, a former Penguin, rifled a one-timer past Marc-Andre Fleury with 2:46 left in the period. The shot sailed over Fleury’s left shoulder and deflected off the crossbar and into the net.
Michel Ouellet and Martin Rucinsky scored goals as the Penguins and Rangers battled to a 2-2 tie at the second intermission.
Ouellet scored a power-play goal with 9:19 left in the second period. Sergei Gonchar’s shot went to John LeClair in front of the New York goal. He flipped the puck to Ouellet, who was parked on the near post. He ripped it into the goal.
Rucinsky retaliated with a New York power-play tally with 7:23 on the clock. He wristed the puck over Fleury’s right shoulder.
The Penguins took a 3-2 lead with 5:47 left in regulation. On a power play, Surovy’s shot from the near point worked its way through a crowd and into the net. Surovy’s stick shattered as soon as it made contact with the puck, but he was able to get enough on the shot to find the back of the goal. Dick Tarnstrom and Ouellet earned assists.
It was Surovy’s fourth goal in two games and sixth in his last six games. He has eight total points in his last six games as well.
However, the Rangers responded with a power-play tally of their own with 3:22 on the clock when Fedor Tyutin ripped a shot past Fleury.
The Penguins had a couple chances to win in overtime as the Rangers were shorthanded throughout the extra session. Crosby finally ended the contest when he picked up Ouellet’s rebound and whipped it past Lundqvist’s glove 3:31 into OT. Gonchar had the other assist.
“We got two scoring chances on the same play and this is what we need,” Therrien said. “We did that a few times, but their goalie made some tremendous saves to keep them in the game. I thought their goalie played really well.”
Fleury stopped 14 of 17 New York shots as the Pens posted a 37-17 shot advantage. The Rangers got 11 of those in the first period and were limited to three each in the second and third. New York did not register a shot in overtime.
“They have so much skill. With our penalty killing, we were doing a good job, but it seemed that every shot they took, it ended up in the net,” Therrien said. “It was a tough game for Marc-Andre to play. When a goalie doesn’t get a lot of shots and every time that he has a shot, it’s a quality shot. It’s a tough game for a goalie to play. He made some good saves to keep us right where we wanted to be.”
The Penguins travel to Toronto on Monday. They visit Montreal on Tuesday and head to Atlanta on Friday to complete a three-game road trip.
ICE CHIPS: Ryan Malone and Lyle Odelein were the Penguins’ healthy scratches…Tom Poti, Steve Rucchin and Colton Orr were the Rangers’ healthy scratches…The announced attendance was a standing room-only 17,132.