Pittsburgh Penguins fall to New York Rangers on fluke goal

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 05: David Desharnais
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 05: David Desharnais /

The Pittsburgh Penguins took on the New York Rangers in a Metro division match-up on Tuesday night. Who came away with a hard fought two points?

The Pittsburgh Penguins were coming off back-to-back victories against the last place Buffalo Sabres. They came home on Tuesday to face off against another team from New York.

The Rangers ruled goaltender Henrik Lundqvist out with an illness a few hours before the puck dropped on December 5th. This led to Ondrej Pavelec starting his fourth game of the season.

After 1 period, the teams matched speed and exchanged chances. Tristan Jarry continued to shine, making a few quality saves early on. That included a swift blocker save to stymie a Kevin Hayes breakaway.

Conor Sheary buried a backhand pass from Patric Hornqvist to make it 1-0 Penguins early. Shortly after, Boo Nieves tallied his first career NHL goal for the Blueshirts, tying the game at 1.

In the second, Phil Kessel potted his 13th of the season, but Jesper Fast and Mats Zuccarello also scored, and gave the Rangers a lead.

Later in the third, Evgeni Malkin sprung Hornqvist for a breakaway. The Swedish forward capitalized and tied the game 3 – 3.

The teams continued to battle and trade chances, but midway through the third period a seemingly harmless Ranger pass would deflect off of Kris Letang‘s skate, over Jarry’s shoulder and into the net.

That goal would stand as the winner.

The Takeaway

They Pens had ample chances to tie this game, especially late in the third period. The powerplay looked good, and they managed to go 1/3 on the man advantage.  But the defense was suspect. On more than one occasion Ranger players cleanly beat a D-man to the outside. Hitting at least three posts over the course of the game meant they were on the right track, but ultimately, this game got away from the Pens.

Kris Letang had a rough night. He looked slow and out of sorts at times. It didn’t help Justin Schultz left in the second period with what appeared to be a lower body injury.

Notable Stats

  • Riley Sheahan won 12 of 15 faceoffs
  • Kris Letang recorded his 20th assist
  • Phil Kessel recorded his 13th goal

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