Recap: Pittsburgh Penguins’ Late Rally Falls Short in OT Loss to Rangers


The Pittsburgh Penguins almost pulled out a storybook ending tonight in New York, as the team rallied late in the third to mount a thrilling comeback, only to see it all fall apart in overtime.

Both teams looked fairly even through the first stanza, finishing with 8 and 9 shots each (with the Rangers taking the slight edge), yet it was Pittsburgh who broke the deadlock 12 minutes in when Nick Spaling hammered in a cross-ice feed from captain Sidney Crosby.

The second period didn’t fare as well for the Pens, as New York put two past Marc-Andre Fleury courtesy of J.T. Miller and Rick Nash, who ranks second in the league in goals scored. Pittsburgh put 12 shots on Henrik Lundqvist but couldn’t manage to tie it up.

They did, however, weather the storm of two Rangers powerplays to keep the score at 2-1.

As the third period wore on and saw both clubs trade chances, the Rangers looked to begin running away with this one when the young Kevin Hayes broke in and tallied an unassisted marker to give New York a two-goal lead.

Heading into the last five minutes, it looked as if Pittsburgh’s mounting injury list would sink them once again, but the black & gold refused to go down without a fight.

With just over four and a half minutes left to go, Brandon Sutter took the game on his back with some slick moves that proved he has far more skill than his third-line checking role would suggest. The young centre flipped the puck into the Rangers zone over the stick of New York captain Ryan McDonagh, and carried the puck up the wall.

McDonagh caught Sutter in the skates with a swinging stick, sending him to his knees, but the feisty Sutter wouldn’t be denied, firing a shot on net as he fell to the ice.

Lundqvist turned the shot aside but Sutter stepped up again, regaining the puck and slipping it into the slot to find Evgeni Malkin, who wired it past the Rangers netminder to take the score to 3-2.

Just 24 seconds later, the Pens continued their momentous play into a game-tying sequence. This time it was Steve Downie who played the hero as he carried the puck up from his own zone and tried to dish it to linemate Spaling, only to see it take a bounce and end up back on his stick in the slot.

Downie wasted no time in wiring home his fourth of the season to tie the game with only minutes remaining.

As the game headed into overtime, it looked as though Pittsburgh was on the verge of pulling out yet another comeback win against the Rangers, the first in as many games since taking down New York in one of the wildest shootouts in recent memory.

It wasn’t to be, it seems. Despite a few strong chances from Pittsburgh, it was New York who left Madison Square Garden with the win after defenceman Kevin Klein scored the finisher 3:45 into overtime.

The loss is the Penguins’ second in their last three games. With their record now standing at 18-6-3, Pittsburgh sits only one point above the New York Islanders for the Metropolitan Division lead. They’ll get a chance to bolster that lead on Friday when they face off against the Calgary Flames – hopefully with some more familiar faces back in the lineup.

Want to stay updated on all things Pittsburgh Penguins? Pens Labyrinth has you covered. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest!