The New York Rangers scored two goals in a minute late in the third period Thursday night to post a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena.
The loss was the eighth in a row for the Penguins (11-27-9).
“We played a really good game. We didn’t give up many chances,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “We killed a good five-on-three power play and guys were blocking shots. We’re going through a lot of adversity and we’re learning, but there’s a time where we need a break.
“This is a game of pride. You have to forget about the past and move onto the next game. It’s frustrating and it’s normal to be frustrated right now. That’s a normal reaction because we want to win and we work hard to win,” he continued. “Usually, a coach will tell his players that they will get rewarded if he works hard. Right now, we aren’t getting the reward, but eventually we’ll get a reward. We can’t lose our focus because lately we are having a hard time putting some wins together or even win a game. It’s not because it’s a lack of effort. The effort is there.”
Petr Prucha’s backhanded shot just trickled past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury 7:13 into the contest. Fleury made the initial save, but the shot deflected off his arm and stick and trickled into the net to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
The score remained until the third period when Dick Tarnstrom got the Penguins on the scoreboard with a power-play goal 25 seconds into the frame. Tomas Surovy and Sidney Crosby earned assists. Following a scrum in front of the net, Tarnstrom’s shot popped high into the air. On the way down, it deflected off a Rangers defenseman and into the net.
Prucha scored his second goal of the game on the backhand 6:24 into the third. It was a power-play goal.
Crosby tied the game with 11:57 to go with a power-play goal. His shot deflected off goalie Henrik Lundqvist, bounced off Rangers defenseman Jason Strudwick and went into the goal. Colby Armstrong and John LeClair had assists.
The Penguins appeared to take the lead when Surovy roofed a shot past Lundqvist for a power-play goal. However, the goal was waved off as Crosby was knocked into the goal before the puck went in the cage. He was given a goalie interference penalty as well.
“It was a blur. I was in the net, so I didn’t really obstruct the goalie moving on the goal,” Crosby said. “We’re on the power play, I am not going to try to run the goalie. Their [defenseman] pushed me in and I tried to stop. If you look at it, I tried to stop and my foot clicked his and I went into the goal. I think even when it’s accidental you can still get goaltender interference because you’re in there. On that one, I definitely didn’t expect that.”
Therrien disagreed with the penalty call on Crosby.
“We have the right to believe it was a bad call. It was an impact on [Thursday] night’s game. We don’t think it was the right call,” he said. “You don’t play the same way when you’re ahead. We deserved better regarding the result. We’ve been working hard lately. We played a good game. We’re battling. We don’t have many breaks. To win a game, you need a break. We don’t have a break. You need some calls; we don’t have some calls. It’s tough. It’s tough to swallow. We have a young team and we have some respected veterans. We deserve better.”
The Penguins killed Crosby’s penalty, but New York went ahead shortly after when former Penguin Michal Rozsival one-timed a shot past Fleury with 4:12 remaining.
The Rangers added an insurance goal exactly one minute later when Michael Nylander redirected a shot off the crossbar and into the goal for a 4-2 edge.
“When you work so hard and it’s hard to get wins…it’s one of those things where they slip away so easily in five minutes,” Crosby said. “It’s tough to take. We played hard enough to win and one or two things changed the game. It’s frustrating, but we have to get through it.”
The Penguins return to action Saturday at home against the Philadelphia Flyers at 2 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: Ryan Whitney, Lyle Odelein and Andre Roy were the Penguins’ healthy scratches…Darius Kasparaitis, Colton Orr and Ryan Hollweg were the Rangers’ healthy scratches…The announced attendance was 14,272.