Just 48 hours after laying the beat down on the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers were handed a loss of their own. The Penguins were able to rebound after Tuesday night’s effort, and smothered the Rangers for a good portion of the game in the offensive zone. Igor Shesterkin did his best to keep the Rangers in the game early in the first period, and made 27-saves throughout the evening.
Radim Zohorna (2) - Marcus Pettersson (4) & Kris Letang (25) - 6:26
After taking a beating in the previous game, the Penguins had a much quicker start and they were rewarded with the opening goal. Just six minutes from the opening faceoff, Pittsburgh caught the Rangers in a partial line change, and generated a chance in transition. Marcus Pettersson found Radim Zohorna cutting through the neutral zone, and the 6-foot-6 forward entered the offensive zone with speed. Libor Hajek took an awful angle towards the puck with Zohorna already past him on a partial breakaway, and the Penguins jumped out to an early lead.
Colin Blackwell (11) - Pavel Buchnevich (20) & Kaapo Kakko (4) PPG - 2:02
Just 17 seconds into the second period, the Rangers went to work on their first power play as Jake Guentzel was sent off for hooking. It took the Rangers some time to finally get setup in the offensive zone, and it would be the secondary unit converting on the man-advantage. Pavel Buchnevich setup the entire play with a quick centering feed out to Colin Blackwell after receiving the initial pass down low from Kaapo Kakko. Blackwell stepped into a heavy one-timer from his knee and was able to beat Tristian Jarry over the shoulder to tie the game up at 1-1.
Kris Letang (7) - Jake Guentzel (23) & Brian Dumoulin (6) - 3:32
As quickly as the Rangers tied the, the Penguins came right back down the ice and regained a one-goal lead at the 3:32 mark. After controlling the play in the offensive zone, Kris Letang threw a shot towards the net looking for a deflection. However, Igor Shesterkin never located the puck through traffic in front and it slipped right between his legs. Letang’s initial shot looked as if it was intended for the forward in the corner, but he caught a fortunate bounce and put Pittsburgh up 2-1.
Evan Rodrigues (5) - Radim Zohorna (2) & Jason Zucker (4) PPG - 11:28
A little past the halfway mark of the second period, Pittsburgh was able to double up their lead courtesy of Evan Rodrigues. Brendan Smith wound up picking up an additional roughing minor after an altercation with Sam Lafferty, and the Penguins were handed their second power play of the night. It took just ten seconds for the Penguins to convert on a chance from below the goal line, and Evan Rodrigues tapped home his fifth goal of the season.
Jason Zucker (6) - Evan Rodrigues (5) & Cody Ceci (7) - 10:29
The Rangers faced an uphill battle heading into the third period, and that hill got a little steeper as Pittsburgh extended their lead to three goals. Another transition play through the neutral zone burned the Rangers as Cody Ceci found Evan Rodrigues slipping in behind the Rangers’ defenders. Rodrigues was able to fight off a check, and deferred over to Jason Zucker who tapped the puck home on his backhand.
Kevin Rooney (6) - Adam Fox (32) - 13:48
With the Rangers needing some sort of effort in the final ten minutes, Kevin Rooney brought the Rangers back within a pair of goals. Pavel Buchnevich didn’t receive an assist on the goal but he created the entire sequence by carrying the puck all the way from his own zone. Adam Fox picked up the puck after it was knocked loose, cycled behind the net and fed a pass back out in front of the net. Kevin Rooney was standing right on the doorstep and slammed home his sixth of the season to give New York some life.
Mark Jankowski (4) - Zach Aston-Reese (3) ENG - 18:29
The Rangers had plenty of zone time during the final two minutes of regulation, but just couldn’t find a way to get a threatening chance in front. Pittsburgh was able to force the Rangers into one final turnover at the blue line, and Mark Jankowski iced the game with about a minute and a half remining in the game.
The Penguins played a similar game compared to Tuesday night, but the main difference this time around was the Rangers lack of finishing. New York missed wide open nets on three separate occasions and put themselves in tough spots by over passing the puck when they had opportunities. Igor Shesterkin certainly gave them a chance with another solid effort between the pipes, but he didn’t get enough goal support at the other end.
Following a tough loss at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers will have a quick turnaround as they meet up with the New York Islanders tomorrow night on Long Island.