Well, the New York Rangers able to snag a point in the standings tonight as they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in the shootout. The Rangers were able to score two goals in the final eight minutes of regulation, and forced overtime against a injury-riddled Penguins lineup. While it's always deflating to lose in a shootout, you can't deny the fact that the Rangers battled their way back to basically steal a point in this game. Yes, the Penguins were missing a majority of their lineup, but at the end of the day, this is still the NHL and no game is an easy one.
The first period was encouraging at some points, and downright scary at other times. The Rangers were able to shutdown the Penguins for a majority of the first period, along with Lundqvist sneaking in a few big saves for his team. There also weren't any power play, so basically the first period was pretty boring overall.
On came the second period, where the Penguins finally took advantage on the games third power play, as Ryan McDonagh was forced to take a tripping penalty on Sidney Crosby as he broke in all alone on a breakaway. Even though it may have been a light tap from McDonagh, anything resulting in the player falling a breakaway usually results in a power play.
It would only take the Penguins about a minute to take advantage, as Chris Kunitz was able to chip in a loose puck sitting in the blue paint. Henrik Lundqvist made a spectacular save to deny the first chance by Kunitz, but he wasn't able to locate the rebound and Kunitz poked it home. The goal was definitely deflating goal, as the Rangers have given up the first goal in every game during this home stand.
However, the Rangers weren't hanging their heads and they were able to battle back to tie the game at one shortly after. After a scrum between Michael Del Zotto and Harry Zolnierczyk in the crease, both teams were forced to play four aside. With lots of room to work with, Carl Hagelin burst straight up the middle of the ice beating both Brian Dummoulin and Simon Despres. He was able to cut in, made a quick forehand to backhand move, and slipped the puck between the legs of Marc-Andre Fleury.
It was a huge goal that finally got both the fans and the Rangers back into the game. The Rangers actually closed out the second period with some great chances, which swung the momentum back in their favor momentarily. Although, the Penguins didn't waste much time in the third period, and were able to score two goals in a matter of a minute to gain a two goal advantage over the Rangers.
At that point, the Rangers looked all but down, and were destined to lose this game easily. However, they had other plans, and were able to respond with two goals of their own to tie the game up late in regulation. Mats Zuccarello picked up the first goal as he chipped in a loose puck behind Fleury, which was a direct result of a John Moore rush just a few seconds prior. Than it was Derick Brassard tying things up with a little over a minute left in regulation, as he cashed in on the power play.
Brassard deserves a ton of credit for his goal, as weird as that sounds. He was able to sink a shot from an incredibly difficult angle with two Penguins players converging on him in a matter of seconds. He had great vision and an even better shot to send this game to overtime. Things started to get a little testy in overtime as Lundqvist was steamrolled by Chris Kunitz, which wound up giving the Rangers a power play early on in overtime.
I noticed a lot of people were criticizing the Rangers for not doing nearly enough to defend their franchise goalie in that situation. I just want to make it known, had the Rangers thoroughly abused Kunitz after the whistle there, that likely would have negated any sort of power play coming their way. It's a tough thing to swallow, but you have to pick your spots when going after someone following a play like that. You can tell the Rangers did exactly that the next time the Penguins came near the crease.
Everyone piled up at the faceoff dot, and Benoit Pouliot nearly decapitated Simon Despres. Either way, all that went for naught as the Rangers weren't able to capitalize on their power play, and the game eventually went to the shootout. Both goaltenders stood on their heads in the shootout, but the Penguins would eventually prevail as the victors when New York native Brandon Sutter capped it off with a five hole shot on Lundqvist.
Win or lose in a shootout, they are complete crap shoot, and are called a skills competition for a reason. The brightest spot of this game was the Rangers scoring twice in an eight minute span, which essentially stole a point in this game.
The Rangers will have an off day before they return to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Islanders this upcoming Friday.