New York Rangers 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 3: Ondrej Pavelec comes up big (Highlights)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

It took a true team effort, but the New York Rangers continually answered the Pittsburgh Penguins and emerged victorious Tuesday night.

Ondrej Pavelec saved 41-of-44 shots in place of a sick Henrik Lundqvist and 11 different players recorded a point as the New York Rangers took care of business against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.

At the beginning of the first period, the Rangers had a couple of solid scoring chances and controlled most of the play. Almost immediately, Kevin Hayes had an opportunity. He broke in all alone, made a move or two, and was denied by Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry on a quick wrist shot.

Following a stretch of solid defensive hockey and a closed neutral zone, the ice began to open up for both teams. Patric Hornqvist made a beautiful pass through the slot, finding Conor Sheary for the goal and making it 1-0 Penguins. The goal was a defensive breakdown for New York, as usual. Sheary was lost by Ryan McDonagh in the scrum in front of the net and converted on Hornqvist’s perfect pass.

The lead would not last long for the Penguins. Boo Nieves would strike at 16:49 in the first period for his first NHL goal. The goal would come off of a wrist shot, beating Jarry through the five hole and tying the game at 1-1.

The second period was a huge one for the Penguins. The Rangers were constantly backed into their own end and forced to endure a plethora of scoring chances. Eventually, the Rangers could no longer fight them off, as Phil Kessel would strike, making it 2-1 Penguins.

The Penguins, once again, would be unable to hold a lead. Despite a stretch of dominance by the Penguins, Brady Skjei made a tremendous defensive play, carried the puck up the ice, used his skating ability to power his way through the defense, and put the puck on net. Jesper Fast would crash the net and bury the rebound, tying the game at 2-2.

After another series of chances by Pittsburgh, who had dominated the period in shots—22-to-6 up to that point—the Rangers would capitalize. Off a beautiful cross-ice pass by J.T Miller, Mats Zuccarello would convert, as Jarry would, once again, allow the puck to trickle through the five-hole off of a knuckleball shot by Zuccarello. It would be Zuccarello’s fifth of the season, putting the Rangers up 3-2.

The third period would begin with power plays for both teams, Unlike the Rangers, Pittsburgh would convert on their power play. Hornqvist, who assisted on Sheary’s goal, would have a breakaway and score on a wrist shot past Pavelec.

Luck would be on the Rangers side towards the middle of the third, as Pavel Buchnevich fired a puck off of Penguins defenseman Kris Letang’s skate and into the net. The lucky deflection would put the Rangers up 4-3 on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Despite a flurry of opportunities for the Penguins at the end of the game, Buchnevich’s goal would stand as the game-winner. It wasn’t pretty—Pittsburgh hit three posts and the Rangers needed a deflected goal—but a win is a win.

The Rangers look to take their winning ways on to the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena, in Washington D.C. on Friday night at 7:00 p.m ET.

 NEXT: Can The Rangers Reach The Stanley Cup Finals? 

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