Penguins Win Thriller in OT
The Pittsburgh Penguins handed the New York Rangers their 5th consecutive loss in an overtime shootout. It all got started with a chance for Ranger’s Kreider early in the game which got stuffed by Murray, that was what set the playoff tone for the game. Lundqvist and Murray were busy through the midway of the period as the offensive chances went back and forth, this included magnificent saves from ‘The King’ laying on the ice on his back keeping it 0-0. The Rangers gave the Penguins the man-advantage at 16:15 with Mika Zibanejad hi-sticking against Conor Sheary in the 1st period which they killed off keeping the score blanked. However, not five minutes went by when the parade to the box started for the Rangers when Chris Kreider got called for tripping against Scott Wilson. The penalty carried over to the 2nd giving the Penguins a surge in momentum.
In the 2nd the Rangers technically killed the penalty, but with a second after Jake Guentzel showed how much he was missed with his first goal since coming back from injury. Roughly a minute after the Rangers were penalized again, which marked their 3rd penalty in five minutes when Nick Holden got holding against Bryan Rust. The Penalty was killed by New York as Kreider looked to beat Murray in the slot which he denied. At 10:46 Sidney Crosby didn’t seize to amaze when he ricocheted a puck from behind the net and angled it off Lundqvist’s helmet to find the back of the net, making it 2-0. The Rangers broke into the scoring column nine minutes later with a power-play goal from Nick Holden to end the 2nd period on a Mark Streit penalty.
It was only six minutes into the 3rd period when Bryan Rust showed his patience and beat Lundqvist for a 3-1 lead. It didn’t take long for the Rangers to answer as Rick Nash scored roughly two minutes after, making it 3-2. This gave the Rangers momentum as they realized they had made it into a game and peppered Murray with shots. It came awfully close when Murray lost a puck that trickled through his five-hole, yet Ruhwedel was there to keep it 3-2 with 2:44 to go in regulation. With 1:24 to go in the 3rd, the Ranger’s pulled Lundqvist in favor of the extra attacker. New York capitalized on the Penguins failure of netting the decisive goal, as they pushed in the offensive zone and with 12 seconds to go Chris Kreider gave the Rangers the equalizer to take them to overtime.
Three on three overtime was fast-paced as both teams had chances to put it away. However, the goalies stood tall and in minutes they were getting for a shootout. The Penguins found a way to score in the shootout, while Murray stopped Zibanejad and Zuccarello, but it was Phil Kessel leading the way and Crosby putting it away that got them the elusive W.
-The offense seems to have woken up with the return of Guentzel to the first line, such tallied 2 out of the 3 goals in regulation.
-Heinsey returning to the lineup in defense made all the difference as at least 2 odd-man rushes were thwarted before the Rangers could capitalize.
-Despite a rough last minute of the game in which the Ranger’s scored, Matt Murray, looked strong in the 3rd and helped his team achieve the W with a great OT and Shootout performances.
-The Penguins are still 1 point behind Colombus in the race for home ice in the playoffs.
-With 5 games left in the regular season, the Pens look to get a completely healthy lineup to create chemistry before their playoff push.
The Snippet of the Game
Murray (32 saves) on Crosby’s off-the-mask goal: “I know he does it quite a bit in practice to me, he tries to bank it in when there’s no good play.”