Recap: Pittsburgh Penguins Win Shootout Thriller against New York Rangers


What a game.

In what was surely the greatest game of the young season thus far, the Pittsburgh Penguins finally bested their rival New York Rangers in a shootout after a close, hard-fought game.

The first period saw the Penguins draw first blood courtesy of Blake Comeau, but then relinquish their lead only 15 seconds later, as former Penguin Lee Stempniak potted one for the Rangers. New York would take the lead before the end of the first frame as Martin St. Louis pounced on a rebound to net a powerplay tally – the only powerplay goal of the game from either team.

Things heated up significantly in the second period as the two teams continued the chippy play from their previous meeting. Pittsburgh led the way with 44 hits, and New York put up 31.

Eight minutes into the second stanza Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle whiffed on a pass that slid onto the stick of Pittsburgh’s Nick Spaling, whose dish to Evgeni Malkin resulted in a beautiful one-timer goal to tie the game.

Tensions somehow managed to ramp up even more in the third period, culminating in a bone-shattering hit on New York’s Dan Girardi from Malkin, that sent Girardi to the locker room. Though it was a clean check, with Malkin’s shoulder connecting with Girardi’s chest, a scrum ensued, resulting in penalties to Malkin and New York’s Marc Staal.

After dangerous chances from both teams, the game extended into overtime.

The extra frame was a wild one.

In the opening minute, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby broke free for a breakaway only to be stoned by Henrik Lundqvist.

Dual penalties to Kris Letang and Carl Hagelin, coming after the two engaged in a shouting match that nearly resulted in fisticuffs, would allow for a few minutes of wide open 3-on-3 play. As the penalties ended, Letang ended up with the puck on his stick as he came out of the box, and rushed in for the Penguins’ second breakaway of the OT period. Lundqvist shut the door once again.

A minute later, Penguins defenceman Rob Scuderi was sent to the box after a diving takedown that sent New York’s Chris Kreider to the ice, giving the Rangers a 4-on-3 powerplay. Pittsburgh’s penalty killers (Brandon Sutter, Marcel Goc, and Paul Martin specifically) stood strong, however, and kept the score at 2-2 as the game headed into a shootout.

After what was already a thrilling 65 minutes, the two teams geared up for what would be an eventful shootout to say the least.

While Malkin and Letang were stopped on the Pens’ first and third tries, Crosby got one past Lundqvist with their second. New York, having gotten their first on the board from Derek Stepan, had the chance to win the game with one final goal.

Boyle got the call from coach Alain Vigneault – a chance to redeem himself after his second period gaffe allowed the Pens to tie up the game. The veteran defenceman came in on Marc-Andre Fleury and seemed to slip the puck just by the tender’s left pad to end the game. Both teams headed to the locker rooms as the Rangers looked to have defeated Pittsburgh once again.

In a bizarre twist, however, the teams were called back on to the ice as the referees reviewed the goal and found that Boyle had tapped the puck twice – resulting in a call of no-goal.

The Penguins were given one more chance to salvage the game and did just that as Sutter beat Lundqvist with a quick shot.

With the pressure on, New York sent out league-leading goal-scorer Rick Nash to tie it up, but Fleury shut the door, earning the Pens a win in what was truly a game for the ages.