Igor Shesterkin sets record for saves, but Rangers fall to Penguins in triple OT
The New York Rangers came into the first game with mind-numbing talk about their lack of playoff experience. That all came to an end after being involved in a contest that took six periods, four hours and 38 minutes to complete.
Despite losing in triple overtime on an Evgeni Malkin tip, the neophyte Rangers were poised and probably should’ve came away winners in regulation.
Kaapo Kakko was called for goalie interference late in the third period and Filip Chytil’s game winning goal was disallowed.
“To me it was a 50/50 call and I felt it was going to go against us,” Gerard Gallant said afterwards. “I can’t argue with that.”
Recap: Penguins 4 vs Rangers 3 (3-OT)
The Penguins ended a marathon game at 5:58 into the third extra session to take Game One thanks to a Malkin tip.
Igor Shesterkin deserved a much better fate as he set a franchise record for saves in a playoff game with 79 on 83 shots. It was also the second most saves in NHL history behind Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo set on August 11, 2020 against Tampa Bay.
The previous Rangers record was 56 saves by Gump Worsley on April 5, 1962.
Pittsburgh and the Rangers combined for 141 shots on goal.
Heavy hits, Fox on the PP
The New York Rangers came out of the gates like a crazed bat out of hell. It was a never-ending hit parade as Ryan Reaves, Ryan Lindgren, Alexis Lafrenière and others blasted every Penguins jersey in sight.
All in all, the Rangers out hit the Penguins 19-10 in the first period with Reaves and Lafrenière leading the team with 4 hits each.
“It was unreal. I’ve heard a lot of loud arenas but that might top it,” Ryan Strome said of Madison Square Garden. “Definitely fired us up before the game. It’s hard not to come out with a good start.”
Adam Fox scored a power play goal 9:16 into the game with a wrist shot from the point. Strome kept the play alive and caused the screen that helped beat Casey DeSmith. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider picked up the assists.
Late in the first, Lindgren caught Rickard Rakell with his head down and knocked him out of the game. The refs initially called a major penalty but after review reduced it to two minutes. New York would kill the minor and close out the first period up 1-0.
Igor Shesterkin stopped all 10 shots he faced in the period.
Penguins storm back
Andrew Copp increased the Rangers lead to 2-0 just 3:08 into the middle frame. He converted a Strome feed in the slot past DeSmith’s glove.
From that point on the Penguins dominated the period as they outshot the Blueshirts 25-8.
Jake Guentzel would score twice converting beautiful passes from Sidney Crosby on each one. However, while killing a penalty, Mika Zibanejad made a great read and pass to Chris Kreider for a shorthanded goal.
Unfortunately, Jacob Trouba was given a penalty on a questionable boarding call to put the Rangers down two men. Bryan Rust completed a nice passing play from Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin to tie it at 3 with 1:30 left.
The Rangers thought they had the game won with under 5 minutes left to play when Kaapo Kakko was pushed into DeSmith by a Penguins’ defender. With the mass of bodies colliding, Filip Chytil scored into a vacant net but the goal was disallowed for interference and the teams headed to OT.
As each minute of OT passed, you could see the players on both teams start to fizzle out. DeSmith was replaced by third string goalie Louis Domingue in the second OT due to injury. He made 7 saves in relief and picked up the win.
The final play of the game began when Kasperi Kapanen pressured Chytil into a turnover behind the net. Kapanen moved the puck to John Marino and the point, whose wrist shot from the right point was tipped over Shesterkin’s shoulder.
“It was one of those games,” Gallant said. “Three overtime periods, it’s tough to lose like that, but you get back on the horse and get ready for the next game.”
- Igor Shesterkin was outstanding with 79 saves
- Chris Kreider scored his first career playoff SHG
- Adam Fox registered his first career playoffs goal and point
Tomorrow (Wednesday, May 4): Day Off
Next Game: Thursday, May 5 – Game 2 vs. Pittsburgh (7:00 PM – TV: MSG, TNT)
*Schedule subject to change
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