The New York Rangers dropped their fourth straight game to the Pittsburgh Penguins this season as they were defeated 5-1 in regulation. New York opened the scoring just over a minute into the first period, but Pittsburgh slowly crept back into the game with their defensive play. That eventually led to five unanswered goals, including a 61 second span where the Penguins scored three straight goals. Alexandar Georgiev initially got the start but was pulled late in the first period in favor of Keith Kinkaid after he allowed three goals on the first six shots of the game.
Mika Zibanejad (3) - Pavel Buchnevich (12) & Jacob Trouba (4) - 1:18
Riding some serious momentum heading into this game, the Rangers jumped on the Penguins early and were rewarded with an early goal. Not only that, but Mika Zibanejad finally scored his first even-strength goal with an absolute snipe coming in on the 2-on-1 rush. Pavel Buchnevich created the initial rush with a great chip play at his own blue line, and Zibanejad finished it off with a beautiful shot. Casey DeSmith bit hard on the additional head fake by Zibanejad and gave Mika the entire upper part of the net to pick his spot.
John Marino (1) - Kasperi Kapanen (9) & Evan Rodrigues (1) - 16:13
New York was tasked with killing off their first penalty kill of the game, and they did a fantastic job of not allowing much of anything. However, just a few seconds after the man-advantage expired, John Marino somehow scored from along the right boards. Alexandar Georgiev probably wanted that goal back after the replay showed he was completely off his angle. There was a partial screen in front by Evan Rodrigues, so that may have played a part in throwing off Georgiev’s timing.
Kasperi Kapanen (6) - Jared McCann (5) & Evgeni Malkin (12) - 16:52
Kapanen gives the Penguins a 2-1 lead pic.twitter.com/2zyQhA5wxn— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) March 8, 2021
Just 39 seconds after Marino’s opening tally, Kasperi Kapanen was able to catch K’Andre Miller at the blue line, and broke in on a breakaway. The puck somehow eluded Miller as he stepped to make a play, and it wound up bouncing over his stick. Alexandar Georgiev attempted to make a sprawling save on the goal, but Kapanen picked the top right corner before he was even able to react.
Sidney Crosby (8) - Brian Dumolin (2) & Kris Letang (12) - 17:14
22 seconds after Kapanen's goal, Crosby makes it 3-1 Penguins. pic.twitter.com/8w6i12EBsI— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) March 8, 2021
The closing minutes of the first period went from bad to worse for the Rangers as Sidney Crosby vaulted Pittsburgh in front by a pair of goals. A crispy breakout pass by Brian Dumolin sent Crosby up the middle of the ice, and he was able to split both Ryan Lindgren and Adam Fox. Crosby’s speed gave them enough trouble where he was able to break free from their grasps and shoveled a shot on goal. Alexandar Georgiev struggled yet again on the shot attempt, and was yanked shortly after allowing his third goal on as many shots.
Evgeni Malkin (6) - Kasperi Kapanen (10) & Marcus Pettersson (1) - 13:57
Kapanen to Malkin, and it's 4-1 Penguins pic.twitter.com/ixjw0kp9tA— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) March 8, 2021
Pittsburgh did an excellent job of shutting down the Rangers after allowing the opening goal, and their transition play haunted New York yet again. Marcus Pettersson found Kasperi Kapanen breaking through the middle of the ice while the Rangers were caught making a line change on defense. Brendan Smith was the lone player back with the confusion, and Kapanen setup Evgeni Malkin on the far post with an easy centering pass. Keith Kinkaid tried his best to sprawl over to the far post but was unable to stretch out to make the save.
Zach Aston-Reese (5) - Teddy Blueger (9) & Brandon Tanev (5) - 16:37
With the Rangers pushing to get any sort of offense going, the Penguins were able to transition through the neutral zone with another odd-man rush. Teddy Blueger was able to slide an elevated pass over to Zach Aston-Reese on the far side and he gloved the puck on net. However, Aston-Reese was able to stay with the loose puck and somehow slammed home the rebound behind the left post.
This game looked promising with the way the Rangers started during the opening few minutes. They were hard on the Penguins in the offensive zone and had a 9-1 shot lead after opening up the scoring. However, a short span of 61 seconds was all it took for the Penguins to take over the game and they never looked back. New York struggled to generate much offense after tossing away their early lead, and fought an uphill battle all night long.
Alexandar Georgiev obviously had a rough night after getting back-to-back starts, but Keith Kinkaid was stellar in relief. Following tonight’s deflating loss, the Rangers will have their rematch on Tuesday night as they close out the two-game set against the Pittsburgh Penguins.