Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 4-3 shootout win over the Rangers…
- The Pens may have given up a couple of two-goal leads, but I thought no matter what the outcome was, this was a solid effort from them. The Rangers pushed hard at the end to force overtime, but that doesn't take away from how the Pens played. They did some good things, generated a lot of chances and found a way to win at the end of the night.
- Matt Murray was phenomenal in this game. The Rangers started strong, outshooting the Pens 5-1 in the first five-plus minutes. He had to come up with a few big saves to allow his teammates to get their legs under them. Murray ended on a fantastic note, as he made some huge saves in overtime, including stopping a 3-on-0. A 3-on-0! Just ridiculous. He followed that up by exorcising his shootout demons with a couple of big stops. It was a terrific response from the Pens netminder after allowing 5 goals in his last start against Philadelphia.
- Sidney Crosby has scored a number of unique goals this season, and treated us to another tonight. During the second period, he received the puck below the goal line and looked to the net, where Henrik Lundqvist was tight against his post. There didn't appear to be any room, but Crosby obviously thinks the game on another level. The goalie's head was the only part of his body not glued to the red painted metal, and so Crosby took a shot that deflected off his helmet and in. He said he saw a little bit of daylight there, and so he tried to put the puck to that area. Just incredible. That's his third goal from behind the goal line this season alone.
- Jake Guentzel returned to the lineup and stepped right back into his spot on a line with Crosby and Conor Sheary. Those three picked up right where they left off before Guentzel got hurt. That trio scored at even-strength, while Guentzel scored on a setup from Crosby during a power play. Overall, they drove play for the Pens, particularly in the offensive zone.
- The helper on the play was the 641st of Crosby's career, which moved him past Jaromir Jagr into sole possession of second place on the Pens' all-time assist list.
- After giving up 11 goals in their last 2 games, I asked Bryan Rust what they needed to do as a team to tighten up defensively. He said play more of a simple, meat-and-potatoes kind of game, especially at the blue lines, and I thought that's exactly what they did. It helped that they got veteran D-man Ron Hainsey back in the lineup, who brought his usual steadiness and reliability back there.