Pittsburgh Penguins Storm Past New York Rangers


The Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t fare well in their first game against the New York Rangers this season, dropping that contest by a score of 3-0. In their second meeting, the tables would be turned.

The Penguins were aggressive offensively and on the forecheck in the first period.  They also had quite a few significant scoring chances.  The Rangers for their part had their fair share of aggression in the hitting department, with Dylan McIlrath leveling Tom Kuhnhackl along the boards.

With the Pens first big chance for a goal in the first, Sidney Crosby took the puck out of a scrum in the corner and got it to Trevor Daley in the slot who wasn’t able to get it past Henrik Lundqvist. About halfway through the period, Lundqvist denied Derrick Pouliot on a big blast. And not long after that, Nick Bonino had a clear shot on a 2-on-1, which was once again turned away by King Henrik, this time with a phenomenal save worthy of one of the best goaltenders in the world.

I’d like to say that the Rangers were lucky to get out of the first period with a 0-0 tie.  But it wasn’t luck.  Lundqvist kept the game scoreless for New York.  Fleury made some good saves, but the Pens had the better goal-scoring chances in the first.

The beginning of the second period was Fleury’s chance to show why he’s one of the best netminders in hockey, as he made some terrific stops.  Whether the extra day of rest helped him or not, he was really on his game.

Lundqvist and McDonagh
Mar 3, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) collides with goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30)  Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Just over six minutes into the second, one of the strangest sequences you’ll probably ever see in an NHL game occurred.  Lundqvist was out of position, outside his crease to field the puck and was plowed into by his own defender.  As the puck was moved out of the Rangers’ zone, you could see that Henrik was shaken up on the play, and had lost his stick.  He was waving his arms looking for play to be stopped.  The Pens now had the puck and were moving into the Rangers zone.  Lundqvist, with his back to the play, actually shoved the net backwards and over, so that the Pens had no scoring chance.

So…….uh……that’s a delay of game, which would be served by Dylan McIlrath.  The Rangers killed that penalty off though, which was shortened by a slashing call on Phil Kessel.

Just over three minutes remaining in the second period, Chris Kreider took the puck short side and snuck it into the net just by Fleury’s shoulder.  The first real miscue of the game for Fleury, and the Rangers took the lead, 1-0.

That lead wouldn’t last long though.  Just 57 seconds after the Rangers’ goal, Sidney Crosby banged the puck off the boards just to the left of the Rangers’ net.  He then poked the puck back off of Lundqvist’s leg and into the net to tie the game at 1.

Evgeni Malkin wouldn’t be outdone though.  A mere 21 seconds later, Geno would be on the board as he took a rebound and beat Lundqvist stick-side to give the Pens a 2-1 lead.  That’s two goals in two games for Malkin as he is getting his groove back a bit, after being out for most of the month of February.

Patric Hornqvist wanted to get in on this goal-scoring party too, and he did, just over a minute after Malkin scored.  With a redirection, Hornqvist would put the Pens up 3-1.  That would make it three goals in a mere 1:39 of play.

That would be all we’d see from Lundqvist on the evening, as Antti Raanta would be in net for New York to start the third period.  He didn’t have a whole lot of chance to stop the puck as there was very little offensive activity in the third period.  The Pens held on to their lead though, shutting the Rangers down as the game wound down. 

The Rangers pulled Raanta with over two minutes remaining in the game to make a last dash at trying to score.  The Pens were able to capitalize on that empty net however, as Malkin fed Phil Kessel who hit the empty net to seal the victory for Pittsburgh, 4-1.

The Pens were aggressive tonight and it paid off.  They looked gritty and got under the Rangers’ skin.  Frankly, they need to play this way more often.  The screens that have been so problematic just didn’t happen tonight which was another victory for the Pens.  If they keep up this kind of tough play, the victories will keep coming and they’ll be earning their playoff berth.