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Pens-Rangers In-Game Blog

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

0:00: That'll do it. The Pens fall to the Rangers by a final score of 5-2.

0:39: After Fleury leaves the net for the extra attacker, Brandon Dubinsky fires the puck into the empty cage. Rangers 5, Penguins 2

1:15: Derek Stepan slams home a rebound under the arm of an outstretched Fleury. Rangers 4, Penguins 2

1:25: Rangers back to full strength.

3:25: Pens on the PP as McDonagh goes to the box for roughing!

4:54: Lots of back-and-forth action between the two teams right now.

8:52: Tanger flies a backhander over the net as he crashes hard.



10:21: Callahan slams home a rebound 11 seconds later with 1:49 remaining on Niskanen's penalty. Rangers 3, Penguins 2

10:32: The Rangers capitalize with eight seconds left on the 5-on-3, as Gaborik crashes the net and stuffs the puck home. Rangers 2, Penguins 2

10:56: Talbot gets his stick in a passing lane and shoves the puck out of the Pens zone!!!

11:37: The crowd is absolutely electric right now!

12:06: Now Niskanen is heading to the box for four minutes after he hi-sticks Callahan and draws blood. Niskanen is getting a double minor, with 1:42 remaining on Cooke's major. The Pens have to kill off a 1:42 Rangers 5-on-3 opportunity.

13:34: Kunitz absolutely snipes a shot top shelf that beats Lundqvist with 3:10 remaining on Cooke's major!!! An absolute beauty of a shot and awesome work on the PK by No. 14! Penguins 2, Rangers 1




15:24: Matt Cooke gets five-minute major and a game misconduct for elbowing Ryan McDonagh. The Pens will have to kill off a five-minute Rangers power play.

16:32: Now Rupp lays out Matt Gilroy behind the Rangers net! Not surprising this is a physical game, as Pittsburgh and New York lead the league in hits.

17:07: Engelland with a huge hit on Anisimov in the corner of the Pens zone!

17:36: Pens controlling the puck down low to start the period.

20:00: The final frame has commenced!


- Staal and TK each have four shots
- Adams has won all three of his faceoffs
- Ruslan Fedotenko and Ryan Callahan each have five hits while Steve Eminger has six

0:00: That'll do it for the second. The score is still tied 1-1 and the Pens are outshooting the Rangers, 29-14.


1:15: Rangers back to full strength.

3:16: Talbot nearly gets a breakaway, but Michael Sauer makes a diving block to take away the passing lane, taking Talbot's feet out from under him in the process. Pens on the PP!

5:19: Kunitz wheels a backhander to the net that Lundqvist is barely able to get a pad on.

6:38: Pens with two clean breakouts in a row, which leads to a Letang shot on net through traffic that Lundqvist smothers.


10:47: Talbot makes a nifty behind-the-back pass to Cooke, who slams a shot on net.

12:50: Ben Lovejoy just made an epic sliding block. He sprawled on the ice to shut down a passing lane and slid on his stomach right into the back boards. The Rangers forward didn't know what to do.

13:54: Now Staal sends a shot to the net that goes across the crease!

15:04: Kunitz sends a pass from behind the net to TK just outside the blue paint, and TK gets down on one knee trying to stuff it home but just can't quite get a handle on it!


16:21: Pens are getting pucks to the net these last few shifts and are creating some decent scoring opportunities.

17:27: Engelland sends a shot to the net that Jeffrey tries to re-direct, but it deflects into the corner.

19:07: Sorry guys, forgot to type that Jeffrey was out of the box. Pens are back to full strength.

20:00: And they're off!


- Lovejoy's assist on Staal's goal extends his point streak to three games
- Nine different Pens have fired a shot on goal
- Talbot has won 3-of-4 faceoffs for a 75-percent success rate

0:00: That'll do it for the first. The score is tied 1-1 and the Pens have the advantage in shots, 10-7.

1:17: Rangers back to full strength. Now it's the Penguins who will be heading to the PK, as Jeffrey gets a pair for tripping.


3:19: Callahan is in the box for roughing after he hauls down Talbot after pushing him into Lundqvist. Pens on the PP!

4:01: Yes! Lovejoy sends a swift breakout pass to Neal, who feeds a streaking Staal right on the tape. Staalsy goes in and head fakes hard to deke out Lundqvist and tuck the puck in the net! Penguins 1, Rangers 1

5:02: Conner nearly gets a breakaway chance, but he can't quite penetrate the Rangers defense.

5:53: The Rangers try another backdoor pass, but the Pens are there to thwart it and clear the puck out of the zone.


8:40: Artem Anisimov sneaks to the backdoor and receives a pass from Callahan. Anisimov taps it in for the score. Rangers 1, Penguins 0

11:27: Staal gets a chance right on the doorstep, but the pass bounces off his skate to a waiting Lundqvist.

11:43: The Rangers get a couple of good chances right in a row, but luckily the puck takes a funny bounce each time.


11:57: Yikes! Artem Anisimov gets a shot to the net that bounces off Fleury's shoulder and nearly bounces into the blue paint, but somehow Flower is able to get a handle on the puck and smother it for the whistle.

13:27: Jeffrey whips a backhand at Lundqvist with a juicy rebound sailing to a crashing Kris Letang, but the puck is in midair and Cinco Ocho can't bat it to the ground.

15:53: TK sends a nice breakout pass to Staal, who forces his way to the cage but is stripped of the puck by a defender. The Pens, however, are able to keep the puck in the zone, with Paul Martin teeing off a blast that Lundqvist has to make a wheeling glove save on.

16:58: Michalek fires a shot that Lundqvist thinks about playing, but ultimately decides to cover for the faceoff. Keep shooting Z!

19:47: Pens win the opening faceoff, with James Neal one-arming a defender away from the puck and powering to the net. They don't call him a power forward for nothing!

20:00: Puck drops. Game on!


12:28 PM: Pens' lines:



Fleury gets the nod between the pipes.

11:05 AM: The Pens are getting ready to take on Atlantic Division rival New York Rangers for the sixth and final time this season. The Pens will have to quickly shake off the rust from their four-day break from game action against a Blueshirts squad that scored five first-period goals in their last game, a 6-3 win over Montreal on Friday.

Of note: Henrik Lundqvist will be in goal for the Rangers, while Marc Staal will not be playing today due to his lower-body injury.

Head coach Dan Bylsma stopped to chat with the media before the game. Here's what he had to say.

Pre-game coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On the status updates of players:
Marc-Andre Fleury will be playing in net tonight. Chris Conner will be in. Mark Letestu, as I stated (Saturday), will not be playing. Asham is not in.

On who skated this morning at CONSOL:
Letestu skated with no gear on. Eric Godard. Eric Tangradi, Brooks Orpik, Nick Johnson and (Sidney Crosby) all skated this morning.

On if Crosby’s condition is slowly improving/progressing:
He’s in the early stages of getting back on the ice and he has a weekly – kind of going week-to-week, day-to-day. More day-to-day than anything, and he has exercised both on and off the ice. Sometimes he does not go on the ice. But he’s working out off the ice. So it’s kind of a slow – very slow – progression. Certainly no time table for when he is going to return to a higher level of exercise.

On if Eric Tangradi is scheduled for another test and if he has been cleared for practice:
He has been cleared for full practice. But considering our numbers, we have somewhat of an issue. We’re going to get to be close to 17, 18 forwards here and at this time of year, that’s too many people to be having on the ice. So he is now in full practice and working out. We’ll just see how that unfolds here.

On if they would consider going to some sort of taxi squad before the playoffs:
It’s going to have to be that way in some aspects. If there’s an optional, that may change. But if it’s a full practice and the team’s only going to go 30 minutes, then it will be the 13 or 14 or so forwards that are in consideration to play.

On if Marc Staal being out today for the Rangers affects the way the Penguins approach anything:
I’m not sure it affects it. (He is a) guy that has been matched up against our guys and plays big minutes in every situation. If he’s not in there, then that’s going to certainly give a different look for some of the players on the ice. But I don’t think we’re going to change what we do based on the fact that Marc might not be in there today.

On if they took a look at Chad Johnson just in case:
Chad Johnson is a Pittsburgh Penguin (draft pick), so we have a little bit of an inside on him if he was playing today.

On if the power play is of concern to him at all right now:
I have concerns about the power play when it’s at 25 percent, because the power play and special teams is always about the next one (and) about the next game situation regardless of what you’re doing. We need it to be better. It needs to be a factor in games for us. Going down the last stretch, the last 11 games and certainly in playoffs, it’s a thing that can be a big factor in every game. So we are still working out how this group is going to fit together to give us the best chance on the power play. We’ve had some pretty good opportunities to score. We’ve had two goals that ended up right after the power play recently that would have changed the number a little bit, or at least our feeling about the power play. But tonight, against a team where our penalty kill is 72 percent against their power play and their power play has gotten goals against our penalty kill and it’s been a factor in the five games so far, I think it will be (a factor) again tonight.

On with two of the top faceoff guys out of the lineup in Crosby and Letestu, if the Penguins can move the puck more at times instead of freezing it and change Fleury’s style in that regard:
It is something you talk about with the goalie in certain circumstances. When we had five defensemen, we’re looking for as many whistles as possible, especially in the defensive zone. So we did talk to our goaltender about that. We talk to our goaltender about freezing the puck more in the second period, it’s a longer change for our defense. You need to talk those opportunities to be able to get fresh guys on the ice or delay the pace of the game if they have the puck in the offensive zone. So there are circumstances we talk to our goaltender about freezing more. We’re not going to tell him to play it more because of the faceoff circle. Sometimes late in the game, you do keep plays alive and if you’re up. But it’s not going to be a strategy we’re going to employ tonight. But it would be a thought process in certain times, certain circumstances.

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