Rangers not complaining about calls, look to even series against Penguins
The New York Rangers will look to even their opening round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins at one game apiece on Thursday night.
After an almost five hour excursion on Tuesday that saw the Penguins survive an injury to forward Rickard Rakell and goalie Casey DeSmith, Evgeni Malkin ended in triple OT. It was the 151st shot of a game that also featured 76 hits and 52 blocked shots.
“Move on– get ready for the next,” Gerard Gallant said. “It’s no big deal. We would’ve love to win it but you have to battle back and win the next one.”
New York Rangers won’t complain about calls
New York will look to play a similar game as they did in the opening period of Game 1. Look for them to be physical and not give Sidney Crosby as much time and space to work with.
“They have a group of pretty smart players on that line so I think you also have to be mentally smart and be in the right positions,” Adam Fox said on Wednesday. “Being physical, moving your feet and trying to stay in front of them is big. We want to slow them down a little bit.”
The Rangers would also like to draw more penalties than the one they received early in the first period where Fox scored. In contrast, the Penguins were given four power plays that included a two man advantage late in the second period that allowed them to tie it after a Chris Kreider shorthanded goal.
“There probably should’ve been a couple of calls made when you look back,” Gallant noted. “We’re not going to complain. Obviously disappointed they got that 5 on 3. That wasn’t the difference in the hockey game.”
Although for the Rangers, the turning point came late in the third period. With 3:10 left in the game, Filip Chytil’s goal was overturned as officials felt that Kaapo Kakko interfered with Casey DeSmith after a brief review.
Numerous video replays clearly show Penguins defender Brian Dumoulin shove Kakko into his own goalie.
“To me it was a 50/50 call and I felt it was going to go against us,” Gallant said. “I can’t argue with that.”
Igor Shesterkin fine after record performance
Igor Shesterkin set a franchise record for saves in a playoff game with 79 on 83 shots in the loss. It was also the second most saves in NHL history behind Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo set on August 11, 2020 against Tampa Bay.
“He’s great,” Gallant said of Shesterkin on Wednesday. “No issues with him after 83 shots, but he’s been doing that all season for us.”
The 26 year-old netminder is considered the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy this season. His performance in Game 1 blew away the Rangers previous record of 56 saves set by Gump Worsley in 1962. That game was also an overtime loss but at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For his career, Shesterkin is 0-2 in playoff games with a 2.56 GAA and a ridiculous .938 SV%. His first career “playoff” start came in the 2019-20 Qualifying Round against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Penguins bruised and battered
The Penguins are feeling very confident heading into Game Two. Their big four offensive stars led by Sidney Crosby, Malkin, Jake Guentzel and Brian Rust were in on all four goals and combined for 9 points (4G – 5A).
“We know we can win every game if we play right, we play smart, we play hard,” Malkin said. “I think we deserved to win (Tuesday).”
While Malkin saved the day with his triple OT deflection, the Penguins did not walk away from the game unscathed.
Casey DeSmith, who started in place of the injured Tristan Jarry made 48 saves before leaving with halfway through the second overtime. Louis Domingue relieved DeSmith and stopped all 17 shots he faced.
“Casey is being evaluated today. Right now his status is day-to-day,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “Tristan Jarry did not skate today, but he’s continuing his rehab off the ice.”
In response, the Penguins have called up Alex D’Orio from their AHL club to back up Louis Domingue.
Late in the first period, Lindgren caught Rickard Rakell with his head down and knocked him out of the game. He joins Jason Zucker as another injured forward.
“Rakell is being evaluated. His status is day-to-day until we get more information,” Sullivan added. “Zucker skated today with the group, he’s day-to-day.”
NHL Playoff Scores
The NHL Playoffs continue to heat up as the Minnesota Wild, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Edmonton Oilers all evened up their first round series. Plus the Carolina Hurricanes go up 2-0 on the Boston Bruins despite playing their third string goalie. Check out The Daily Goal Horn for all the action.