New York Rangers Pittsburgh Penguins
(Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New York Rangers lost their third straight game to the Pittsburgh Penguins who completely outworked the Blueshirts for a dominant win and two points. 

  • New York Rangers (22-17-5, 49 points)
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (24-19-3, 51 points)
  • NYR Goals: Michael Grabner (19), Brendan Smith (1)
  • PIT Goals: Patric Hornqvist (13), Dominik Simon (1), Sidney Crosby (17), Carl Hagelin (3)
  • PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • NHL, Final, Boxscore

The New York Rangers were without Kevin Hayes and captain Ryan McDonagh following a disappointing loss to the New York Islanders as they headed to Pittsburgh.

This was the third time that the Penguins and Rangers faced-off this season. With Pittsburgh on a hot streak, this was the perfect test for the Blueshirts following a tough loss to see where they stood as a team.

Throughout the early parts of this game, it looked like the Rangers were going to go toe to toe with Pittsburgh. That wouldn’t be the case as the Penguins came out and dominated the Rangers in the second period which was too much for the Rangers to handle.

It didn’t start out pretty for the Rangers as they found themselves chasing the game once again. Henrik Lundqvist couldn’t get a whistle and the Penguins would take advantage of it with a goal from Patric Hornqvist and an early 1-0 lead.

The Penguins would continue to control play and generate plenty of quality scoring chances on Henrik Lundqvist. The now four-time all-star netminder had to be on top of his game for the Rangers to have a chance, fortunate for the Blueshirts he was.

Thanks to Lundqvist’s heroics, Michael Grabner could continue to do what Michael Grabner does best. Score big goals on breakaways.

Grabner has been productive all season for the Rangers and that continued tonight. Grabner went to a different move going from the forehand to the backhand and it worked this time.

After being in the doghouse for the majority of the season, Brendan Smith found himself back in the lineup. He took advantage of that scoring his first goal of the season and gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead going into the second period.

The Penguins came out aggressive in the second period and outshot the Rangers 18-7. Lundqvist was forced to come up with multiple big saves to keep the Rangers up 2-1. But the constant Pittsburgh pressure was too much for the Rangers to handle.

We have seen this story for years with the Rangers and Penguins. The Rangers come out with a good start but then Pittsburgh pulls away considering they are the much better team. Pittsburgh tying the game was just another step in them completely manhandling the Rangers.

A team with Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin is a force to be reckoned with. Tonight it was Kessel who would make the Rangers pay for a turnover.

Pittsburgh continued their attack and got another one past Lundqvist. The Rangers weren’t happy about the call and managed to get the play under review.

It was determined that puck was put in the net with a distinct kicking motion and was disallowed keeping the Rangers deficit at one. But this was Pittsburgh night and their dominance of the Rangers would continue this time with Sidney Crosby.

Carl Hagelin would add an empty net goal handing the Rangers a third straight loss. They have now lost three of their last four games and things aren’t looking good. The team will have a day off Monday as they prepare to face the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesdays night at Madison Square Garden.

Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.