Rangers ‘pissed off’ after 5-2 loss to Penguins at home

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday night at Madison Square Garden, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the New York Rangers, 5-2, keeping their playoff hopes alive with seven games remaining.

Before the game, the Blueshirts honored Jonathan Quick in front of the Garden Faithful for becoming the all-time winningest American-born goaltender in NHL history with his win Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.

Sidney Crosby had three points (two goals, one assist) and Bryan Rust scored two goals to lead the way offensively for the Penguins. Alex Nedeljkovic was solid in goal for Pittsburgh, stopping 28 of the 30 shots he faced.

Kaapo Kakko and Jack Roslovic scored for the Rangers, and Igor Shesterkin made 15 saves on 18 shots. The Penguins scored their final two goals into the empty net.

“We’re pissed off about this one,” defenseman Ryan Lindgren said. “We’ll move on.”

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Pittsburgh Penguins 5 vs New York Rangers 2

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers
Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The first period was a display of the Penguins’ star power and a reflection of the Rangers’ defensive struggles. From the onset, Pittsburgh’s key players, Crosby and Rust, took control of the game, dictating the pace and putting the Rangers on their heels. 

Just 18 seconds into the period, Rust found the back of the net for his 25th goal of the season, quickly giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead off a “big mistake” by Jacob Trouba. This early goal set the tone for what was to come.

As the period progressed, the Rangers found themselves frequently outplayed in their own defensive zone, struggling to contain Pittsburgh’s offensive onslaught. 

Their difficulties continued at the 10:39 mark when Crosby deflected the puck into the net for his 36th goal of the season, extending Pittsburgh’s lead to 2-0. The Rangers challenged the goal for being offside, but the call on the ice was upheld. The Penguins held on to their two-goal lead after 20 minutes of play.

The middle frame showcased a noticeable shift in momentum, and the Rangers looked like they scored a power-play goal, igniting the team and the crowd. However, the apparent Mika Zibanejad goal was quickly waved off due to goaltender interference by Chris Kreider, keeping the score at 2-0 in favor of Pittsburgh.

Despite the Rangers’ improved play and their efforts to challenge the Penguins, the period concluded with the score still standing at 2-0.

“Not playing a good period in the first,” Zibanejad explained. “The push in the third came too late, but overall not our best game.”

The dynamic of the game shifted at 9:51 of the third period when Emil Bemstrom capitalized on a breakaway, scoring his seventh goal of the season to extend Pittsburgh’s lead to 3-0.

However, the Rangers’ persistence paid off nearly a minute later at 10:42, as Kakko found the back of the net, scoring his 12th goal of the season. This goal not only cut the Penguins’ lead to 3-1 but also marked a significant milestone for Artemi Panarin, who assisted on the goal. Panarin’s assist moved him into third place on the Rangers’ all-time single-season points list with 108 points.

The Rangers’ comeback efforts continued at 16:53 when Roslovic scored his eighth goal of the season and his second as a Ranger, pulling New York within one goal at 3-2.

In an attempt to equalize, the Rangers pulled Shesterkin for an extra attacker, an aggressive move that backfired at 17:21. Rust capitalized on the empty net, scoring his second goal of the game and restoring the Penguins’ two-goal lead at 4-2. 

Crosby further cemented the Penguins’ victory with another empty-net goal at 19:15, bringing the final score to 5-2.

The Rangers will be back in action on Wednesday night, when they welcome Jack Hughes and the New Jersey Devils to MSG. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM.

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