Jarry comes up big again for the Penguins in a 4-2 win over the Rangers

Pittsburgh Penguins, Nick Bjugstad, (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins, Nick Bjugstad, (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

A goaltending clinic from Tristan Jarry allowed the Pittsburgh Penguins to escape the New York Rangers, 4-2, Tuesday night

How many times will Tristan Jarry stand on his head in net and allow the Penguins to escape with points this season?

Since Valentine’s Day, despite defensive struggles on the ice in front of him, Jarry has been one of the best goalies in the NHL. With a .932 save percentage and eight wins in 11 games, Jarry has become the brick wall the Pens desperately needed.

It was no different Tuesday night. With just one shot on goal from the Penguins in the third period, the Rangers completely controlled play in the period. Facing 15 Rangers’ shots, Jarry shut down every single one.

None were bigger than the two chances afforded to Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich late.

With two and a half minutes left in the game, Buchnevich received a cross-crease feed from teammate Mika Zibanejad — with both players completely uncovered by Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin — and ripped a shot toward what should have been an open net.

Jarry slid across the crease and somehow got his left pad in place to block the Buchnevich shot, but he wasn’t done. After Sidney Crosby rang iron on the ensuing rush, Buchnevich once again found himself alone in front of the net, but Jarry’s left pad flashed out to save the Grade-A chance.

Two ten-bell saves from Jarry, with video shared by Shayna on Twitter, and it allowed the Pens to escape with a 4-2 regulation win.

The third period wasn’t perfect from the Penguins, but the first two were pretty dang good.

The Crosby line was phenomenal, the Evgeni Malkin and Kasperi Kapanen combo continues to pay dividends for Geno and the Pens’ overall game and Dumoulin’s return has been a much, much needed anchor to Letang’s own game.

Occasionally the Penguins will need Jarry to come up big with a huge period here or there. If anything, Jarry proved he’s more than capable to rise to the challenge.

With four wins in the past five games, including three in a row, all four have come in regulation. This is crucial as the Pens continue to rise in the East division standings, rising past the Boston Bruins for third in the East. The Pens picked up so few regulation wins to begin the season, allowing teams to hang around the standings.

With two games against the Buffalo Sabres and three games against the New Jersey Devils, sandwiched around two home games against the Bruins, the Penguins are entering a stretch that could either propel them into a fight for the division or doom them to a fight for a playoff spot this season.

The Penguins and Sabres will play their first contest of the season Thursday at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet locally and ESPN+ nationwide.

First Period – 1-1, tie

Jack. Johnson.

What in the f–? Boos rained down from the rafters as the Penguins’ public address announcer called former Pens defensemen Johnson’s goal. After the Pens dominated the first half of the period, almost a reverse carbon copy of the Pens-Rangers game from Sunday, Johnson’s shot from the blue line deflected off John Marino’s skate and past Jarry to open the scoring.

Just before scoring his first ever goal with the Rangers, Johnson found himself in position in his own crease to clear a potential scoring Pens’ chance off the line. What an odd, full-circle moment for Johnson.

Besides Johnson’s goal, the Penguins dominated play in the period — with Crosby leading the way.

The Penguins created some solid chances over the first half of the period, including a 2-on-1 with Evgeni Malkin and Kasperi Kapanen that fizzled out off a stolen Malkin pass and a Cody Ceci feed toward the net that… Jack Johnson was somehow able to clear.

The first power play of the game was awarded to the Penguins, but despite a strong PP, the Pens were unable to beat Kinkaid. The Rangers were awarded their own PP chance later in the period, with a chance to increase their lead, but Jarry and the penalty kill shut it down.

As time was winding down in the period, Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren’s strict broke when attempting to clear the puck, and Crosby pounced on the puck. He flung the puck to Jake Guentzel, who was cutting into the zone and snapped a beautiful wrister up over Kinkaid’s glove to tie the game.

Holding a 16-7 advantage in shots through the first period, Jake’s goal was crucial. It was a much-needed advantage — dominating play only feels good when it comes with goals.

Second Period – 3-1, Penguins

There are times in a hockey game, not every game maybe, where plays take your breath away.

Maybe it’s an individual goal from a superstar, maybe it’s a pretty team passing play leading to a goal, or maybe it’s an absolutely dominating team effort leading to a beautiful individual goal. So… all of the above this time?

With time winding down in the period, the Kapanen-Malkin-Evan Rodrigues line, combined with the Letang-Dumoulin pairing, absolutely overwhelmed the Rangers on a five-on-five chance.

The Penguins had the puck on a string out there, looking like they were a man or two up, as the defensemen joined the scoring chances, kept the puck in the zone and flung passes all over the ice. Malkin and Kapanen flew around the ice, creating chance after chance for 50(!) seconds before the eventual scoring chance.

Rodrigues played a puck behind the net to Malkin, who drifted out along the boards and passed to Kapanen in front of the net. Kapanen toe-dragged a defender and roofed a shot up over Kinkaid’s glove to reward a minute of sustained pressure with a 3-1 lead.

In other news… the fourth line plays well for one game, and once Rodrigues is taken off the line, it completely collapses. With a healthy lineup, Rodrigues has found his hopeful spot in the lineup, but Mark Jankowski just isn’t cutting it at center.

Colton Sceviour, who put on waivers Monday, found himself back in the lineup against the Rangers. Early in the period, Sceviour turned the puck over directly in front of Jarry, and it’s lucky that he was in position to save a quick shot from Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere.

A pretty disastrous play from a line that has underperformed all season long.

However, the Penguins excelled in other areas in the second period. On a Mike Matheson-forced penalty kill, Dumoulin sauced a puck up to Brandon Tanev, who entered the zone and fed Teddy Blueger. Blueger rushed the net, shifted the puck to the backhand and forced a shot past Kinkaid to score his third shorty of the season.

It was a beautiful team kill from the Penguins, with everyone on the ice playing a part, but Kinkaid allowed a rather soft backhanded goal from Blueger. But it still gave the Pens a 2-1 lead.

Third Period – 4-2, Penguins

When the Penguins have a lead, don’t hold your breath. They aren’t known for keeping their foot on the pedal and picking up easy wins. Quite the opposite, in fact.

After controlling play through the first 40 minutes of play, the Rangers jumped out and controlled play through the last 20.

The Rangers drew a power play off a Crosby penalty, which may or may not have been suspect. Nonetheless, it was still a chance. Rangers forward Ryan Strome picked up the puck right off the faceoff on a feed from Buchnevich and put the puck on net. Unfortunately for Marino, again, the puck deflected off his skate and past Jarry to make it a one-goal game.

A tough break from Marino especially, but the Rangers continued to wear the Penguins down as the period wore on. The Penguins went a long, long period without putting a puck on net.

Crosby rang a shot off the post with just about two minutes left and Bryan Rust put a puck off the post on an empty net chance but neither counted to the shot totals. It wasn’t until Crosby iced an empty net goal with 30 seconds left did the Pens finally put a shot on goal.

One shot, one goal. Pretty efficient, huh?

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What did you think of the Penguins’ win against the Rangers? Let me know in the comments!