The New York Rangers were swept during the back-to-back series against the Pittsburgh Penguins as they were defeated 3-2 in regulation. New York played well enough to win this game, but a late goal by Jake Guentzel was enough to secure the two points for Pittsburgh. Igor Shesterkin started his second consecutive game but looked a little shaky in the third period as Pittsburgh came storming back into the game.
Colin Blackwell (1) - Adam Fox (4) & Brett Howden (1) - 16:36
The Rangers as a whole had a great first period, but more specifically, the fourth line was getting the job done on the forecheck. With a little under four minutes remaining in the first period, Colin Blackwell picked up his first goal as a Ranger on a deflection in front of the net. Blackwell was a surprising addition to the lineup by David Quinn when it was announced, but it obviously resulted in an immediate reward for the head coach.
Blackwell did a great job of fighting through Cody Ceci and getting body position out in front of the crease. Winning that battle allowed him to open up his arms and redirect the puck as it sailed through the high slot. Tristian Jarry never even saw the shot with the change in direction and the Rangers took an early 1-0 lead.
Bryan Rust (2) - Sidney Crosby (3) - 11:24
Up until this point in the game, the Rangers had done an excellent job of limiting the chances against through the neutral zone. However, one mistake is all it takes at this level, and the Penguins were able to tie up the game on a breakaway. Sidney Crosby stripped Brendan Smith at his own blue line, and found Bryan Rust cutting up ice all alone. The stretch pass landed right on the tape, and Rust slipped the puck past Igor Shesterkin to knot up the game.
Ryan Strome (1) - Jacob Trouba (1) & Artemi Panarin (4) - 17:17
Despite giving up the tying goal, the Rangers continued hounding the Penguins in their own end and eventually picked up the go-ahead goal. Great net-front presence created some issues for Tristian Jarry following a rebound, and Ryan Strome jammed home his first of the season. Just prior to the goal, Artemi Panarin made an unreal pass back across the crease to change the angle of the shot, and New York was able to regain the lead at the 17:17 mark.
Jared McCann (2) - Unassisted - 2:26 3rd
Throughout the first two periods, the Rangers controlled most of the play in the offensive zone, but it would be the Penguins who tied the game early in the third period. Jared McCann picked up the tying goal after he slid down the left boards, and fired a quick shot towards the net. Igor Shesterkin was apparently caught off caught by the release, and completely whiffed on the puck as it sailed into the back of the net.
Jake Guentzel (2) - Kris Letang (3) & Sidney Crosby (4) - 18:29
Jake Guentzel scores with 1:31 left in regulation to give the Penguins their first lead of the game. pic.twitter.com/CUBQXTFY61— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) January 25, 2021
With a little under two minutes remaining in regulation, the Penguins stunned the Rangers with the late go-ahead goal. Kris Letang setup Jake Guentzel at at the top of the faceoff circle, and he wired a low shot through traffic. Igor Shesterkin was unable to seal off the bottom part of the net, and the puck slipped right through his legs.
This was another game where the Rangers came at the Penguins in surges, but just weren’t able to convert on their chances. Through five games, the Rangers probably deserved to win at least four of them, but sit at 1-3-1 in the standings. The short season isn’t going to do the Rangers any favors if they keep finding ways to lose, but at least they are playing well enough to win.
Following tonight’s heartbreaking loss, the Rangers will travel back to upstate New York for a two-game series against the Buffalo Sabres starting on Tuesday night.