Although Eric Staal led the way for the New York Rangers, it was Sidney Crosby who picked up the last laugh in overtime.
- New York Rangers 2 (43-24-9)
- Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (42-25-8)
- NHL, Final, Box Score
- Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
It’s been the one nagging issue these New York Rangers have suffered through the entire 2015-16 NHL campaign: They simply haven’t been able to hold a lead.
Like a broken record, this annoying issue reared its ugly head yet again – not once, but twice on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It eventually led to a 3-2 overtime loss thanks to a deflection by Sidney Crosby.
The top positive for the Blueshirts came in the form of the No. 3 line. They generated the entirety of the offense.
Only 4:19 into the contest it was Eric Staal who collected his 12th goal of the season. The only thing more beautiful than the pass by line-mate Kevin Hayes was the fact Staal one-handed this one past Marc-Andre Fleury:
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) March 27, 2016
Holding the lead then quickly became the topic after Matt Cullen picked up the equalizer for the Penguins just over 10 minutes later:
— NHL (@NHL) March 28, 2016
If you thought Staal was done on the night, you thought too quickly.
He tallied his second goal of the night, 13th of the season on a broken play in which Jesper Fast capitalized on. He found Staal hiding out in the perfect spot. He buried the one-timer from a semi-tough angle:
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) March 28, 2016
Of course, the dreaded “holding the lead” factor came right back into the picture and in your head as a diehard Rangers fan.
The reason? Well, because Henrik Lundqvist could possibly be the worst goaltender in the league when trying to handle the puck.
— NHL (@NHL) March 28, 2016
The third period finally sported some defensive hockey, as neither team could find the back of the net.
Despite one of the more bone-headed penalties taken by Derrick Brassard with just a second and change left in regulation – a lazy high-stick – New York killed off the 4-on-3 penalty to begin overtime.
It was only a brief moment of joy for the squad, as eventually Crosby picked up his 32nd goal of the season with just 30 seconds left in overtime:
Slap me silly, Sidney!
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 28, 2016
Lundqvist stopped 29 of the 32 Penguins shots he faced, while his counterpart, Fleury, snagged 27-of-29.
Pittsburgh now trails New York by just three points in the standings, still also having one game in hand.
Next up for the Blueshirts will be the Hurricanes in Carolina on Thursday night.
3 Stars of the Game:
- P. Kessel (Penguins – RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1
- E. Staal (Rangers – C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0
- S. Crosby (Penguins – C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0