before the match
Pittsburgh is getting some good news with Jason Zucker’s quick return from injury. But Josh Archibald is unavailable due to an injury to his side, so Danton Heinen slides to the bottom of the lineup and stays in the game.
The first period
Hope you don’t miss the beginning of this game. The Penguins rush onto the ice and Jake Guentzel is shot. Igor Shesterkin leaves a rebound for Rijkaard Raquel to get a first-class chance at close range, but Shesterkin attacks him. The puck goes in the opposite direction and Chris Kreider looks to the center who might run into Marcus Peterson and shoot into the net. A really tough break for the Pens to lose 1-0 after just 22 seconds into the game, after they could have easily scored the first goal of the game faster.
PO Joseph takes the first penalty of the game shortly after, and it looks like Pens is in survival mode off the gates. Luckily for them, they survive and kill him without giving up a shot.
A little later, Peterson went into the penalty area, but the Rangers gave Pittsburgh a power-up. Evgeni Malkin hits Sidney Crosby with a great pass, but the defense gets in the way for Crosby who is looking to move the puck to tackle rather than shoot.
It was a tale of two periods (albeit only one) to open things up, with Pens scoring six of the first seven shots and NYR responding to closing things out with seven of the last eight. 1-0 overall on the big board and 8-7 in shots on goal, both in favor of the Rangers.
Kasperi Kapanen heads into the box early in the second half, giving New York a third power play very early in the game, but the Pens’ powerhouse PK is doing his thing again.
Zucker puts Bryan Rust up for Pens’ best chance of the game, but Shesterkin is too far away to flex him and makes it look easy while closing in on the gauntlet.
Pittsburghs don’t get shots, but they keep digging. Zucker and Malkin get some juices flowing in the o-zone and then on the next shift, Raquel kicks a penalty kick in Pittsburgh’s strong second game. come through. Malkin rips a left side shot, and with Rakell screen, Shesterkin hits the puck. Game 1-1 with 5:36 left in the second.
The pens kept going, Crosby fed Jake Guentzel on lead, and was saved by Shesterkin. The Rangers take a vengeance penalty to bring the pens back into the power play and the big boys are feeling it in the moment. It takes the second set, but the pens get there. Rust Tips In Joseph’s shot, she takes a predictable late cross-check from piece-or-trash Ryan Lindgren who’s a little late this time around. Pens reach 2-1.
The shots in the second end were up to 10-10 in an opposite game than the first as the Rangers were better in the first half, but Pittsburgh took over right as the game went on, with solid play delivering two goals and plenty of errors, making it a powerhouse.
Gary remains sharp in disapproval of Kreider after he sneaks behind the defense when changing lanes and is on his own.
About halfway through, Guentzel hits Crosby with a great putt, Sid goes to the backhand and beats Shesterkin by five holes to extend the Pens’ lead to 3-1.
Short-lived, Trocheck puts the puck through Joseph, then taps Ruhwedel to remove himself from the play with a chip in order to easily feed the puck to Kreider. Kreider lofts the ball over Gary for his second goal of the game to put NYR back in the game with a 3-2 lead over Pittsburgh.
New York pulls the goalkeeper with two minutes left in the game. Mika Zibanejad fires a shot, and Gary is there to disenfranchise him. Then Brian Dumoulin gets lucky not to be called out for tripping Zibanejad as he drives to the net.
The Rangers run out of time before their pressure pays off, and Pittsburgh skates to victory.
- Really weird first 10 minutes in this game for Tristan Jarry. He didn’t have a chance with a deflected puck snapping at him for only a few seconds, then didn’t see another shot on goal in the first half of the first half. Well, he saw Vincent Troshek throw a shot by him too, but it hit the post and stayed out. That was a bit of an instant karma evening thing quickly. It’s very strange in 10 minutes to see a goalkeeper not make any saves, and he really doesn’t have a chance to do so.
- Tonight is the third time this month that Gary has given up a goal in the first minute of a game (also against Columbus and Dallas). He was 3-0 in those games, conceded 0, 0 and 1 goals after that (with that one tonight by Kreider late on) and won all three games. For goalkeepers sometimes the best feature is to ignore it and move on, and Gary has really excelled in that aspect in impressive fashion. When it doesn’t start out great, it doesn’t last at all.
- After playing Carolina in the last game, it was very interesting to compare that by seeing how the pens stacked up against another big Metropolitan team in the Rangers. (And doubly helpful, since the pens will be playing with the Hurricanes on Thursday to quickly see that divergent pattern again.) NYR is a very fast team. They are looking to take on the rush, and use their speed and skill – which is shown in great numbers from the top two lines. Carolina is more elaborate—closing the flaps in the niches, making every inch a battle—more deliberate and direct. NYR uses more cross pass or cross ice – less control but more explosive. No right or wrong, the CAR-NYR-CAR stretch really shows opposite ends of the spectrum for how two teams can approach things based on their different talents and strengths.
- The Pens’ kickers killed not one, not two, but three penalties early in the game, each time while down 1-0. Circumstantially, that seemed like a lingering memory to be an issue in last season’s playoff game with a dangerous power play in New York picking up spots and making Pittsburgh pay. This did not happen.
- This was a game where you missed the energy of Li’l Josh Archibald flying around throwing his body at the boards and other players up front. Shame he was so agitated to play tonight (although he didn’t look too serious) his absence missed him. Although the PK was fine without him, this kind of playing against a Physical-grade opponent was the reason why Pens wanted this kind of item Archibald would bring in the first place.
- At the same time, getting Zucker back was a big boost. Malkin’s line works on a whole different level and is better with him.
- It’s very nice to see Rust redeem himself with a great chance up front and not score by following and scoring later from in front of goal. He’s had some assists recently, but this was his first goal in six matches. And only eighth in 32 appearances so far this year, after playing at a full-season pace of 35 goals in the season from 2019/20 to 2021/22.
- Good night to continue the streaks: Malkin gets a point for his ninth straight game (3G+10A) and eighth straight game for the pens with PPG.
- Pittsburgh puts an end to New York’s seven-game winning streak. They were at their best, but New York failed. It’s always nice to beat a type of team that’s been playing the best hockey this season up to this point, and that was the case tonight.
- Zibani Nejad was a man possessed in the last minute of the match. He’s so good when he’s on his game. Kreider scored twice. Artemi Panarin narrowly missed a few shots. Trocheck is a good player but he looked very dangerous in his first game at PIT/NYR. Rangers/Penguins games are fun because the game swings both ways and each team has stars who are able to take over the game completely at times when they increase the momentum. On this night it was Crosby, Malkin, Raquel, Rast and Guentzel who found the net the most, against quality goalkeeping at either end. in the next time? Well, it’s definitely worth checking out to find out.
A very satisfying win for the Pens, who at least temporarily jumped the Rangers frog in the standings tonight as a result of this regulation. Pittsburgh has one more to go before halftime, and they’ll be looking to get some redemption for the team that just beat them in Carolina at home on Thursday.