While it may not have been pretty at times, the New York Rangers found a way to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime, and snagged two crucial points. The Rangers showed some flashes of brilliance throughout the game, but at certain points, it got downright ugly in their own end. One of those times was the third period, where the Rangers saw their two goal lead vanish in the blink of an eye. Two miscues in the defensive end allowed the Penguins to strike twice within 24 seconds, which allowed this game to continue on to overtime.
However, the Rangers were able to hit the reset button in overtime, and an offensive juggernaut named Kevin Klein was able to seal the deal 3:45 into extra time. This game started off very badly from an entertainment standpoint, as both teams were very sloppy with their entries, which didn't lead to a whole lot of offense in the opening minutes. A little over halfway through the first period, though, the Penguins were able to strike first on a Rangers defensive miscue at the blue line. Sidney Crosby was able to catch both Ryan McDonagh, and Dan Girardi napping, and quickly slid the puck over to Nick Spaling who was wide open on the far side. Without any hesitation, Spaling ripped a rocket of a shot which surprised Lundqvist, and beat him over the shoulder to give the Penguins the 1-0 lead.
Following the goal, the Rangers started to find some of their legs, and were finally rewarded for it later on in the second period. Within the first ten minutes of the second period, the Rangers were able to convert on two separate occasions, and they took their first lead of the evening. The goal that started it all came courtesy of J.T. Miller who chipping in a picture perfect pass from Martin St. Louis, which tied the game up at 1-1. A little under five minutes later, Rick Nash cashed in nifty little flip pass from Mats Zuccarello, and knocked in his 18th goal of the season.
Heading into the third period, you could sense a severe shift in momentum as the Penguins hemmed the Rangers in their zone for a majority of the period. Despite being outplayed, the Rangers were able to capitalize on their first shot of the period as Kevin Hayes drove to the net, and knocked in a loose puck at the top of the crease. Marc-Andre Fleury attempted to poke the puck away from Hayes, wound up missing completely, and allowed Hayes to tap the puck into the empty net.
While all was fine and dandy at that point, the Rangers continued to allow Pittsburgh to have their way in the offensive zone, and it eventually backfired big time. Just three minutes after Hayes gave the Rangers a comfortable 3-1 lead, Pittsburgh rattled off two goals within 24 seconds to knot the game up at 3-3. The first goal came off yet another defensive miscue behind the net as the Rangers left Evgeni Malkin all alone in front, and he tapped in a centering feed from Brandon Sutter. 24 seconds later, Steve Downie was able to convert off of a loose puck in the high slot as Marc Staal whiffed on a clearing attempt. Downie was able to rip a quick shot on net, which wound up taking a strange deflection in front, and slipped through the legs of Lundqvist.
Giving up the lead was certainly a deflating feeling, but with the way the Rangers were playing in the third period, you could almost sense it was coming. Despite their mental breakdown in the third period, the Rangers were able to collect themselves, and snagged the extra point in overtime. After two big saves by Lundqvist at the other end, the Rangers were able to march the puck back up ice, and chipped the puck deep into the Penguins end.
Kevin Klein was able to get to the puck first, and quickly knocked the puck around the boards to Dominic Moore. The puck eventually worked it's way up to the point, where Kevin Klein unleashed a bomb following a cross-ice feed from Ryan McDonagh. Fleury was never able to track the puck as it came through a screen in front, and the puck slipped under his arm for the game winning goal.
As mentioned above, this win certainly won't go into the "pretty" column, but a win is a win nonetheless. With another four day break coming up for the Rangers, it was important that they came out on top in this one. The Rangers will be in action once again on Saturday, as they take on the Vancouver Canucks in their first of a four game road trip.