The Rangers were able to come away with a point in a hard-fought game, but they deserved more.
The New York Rangers had an impressive 50 shots on goal in their loss against the New Jersey Devils, but MacKenzie Blackwood and the defense in front of him were a brick wall.
Rangers head coach David Quinn decided to play with the lines in order to give the team a spark.
Kevin Rooney and Tony DeAngelo, both of whom had missed New York’s last two games, were back in the lineup and Julien Gauthier and Brendan Smith sat.
These were some questionable moves: Gauthier has yet to record a point but has played well to start the season and Smith has been very solid in his two games, especially compared to Jack Johnson.
Here’s to hoping that the coaching staff knows something we don’t. Let’s see if these line changes worked.
1st period: Johnson and Strome are TOXIC
Both teams came out with great speed and high intensity.
The first really good scoring chance of the game came as a beautiful pass down the ice off the stick of Artemi Panarin to Ryan Strome, who was unable to get the puck past Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry. His offensive struggles persist.
The Penguins were able to get on the board first, just over halfway through the period. Of course, Johnson was at fault.
He was unable win a puck battle, allowing the Penguins to gain control and for Bryan Rust to deflect a Cody Ceci shot past Igor Shesterkin.
With 9:02 left, Kris Letang tripped Pavel Buchnevich, sending the Rangers to the first power play of the game.
The Rangers had one great scoring chance while on the man-advantage: Mika Zibanejad made a pass to Chris Kreider, whose shot was saved by Jarry.
The Rangers’ never-ending struggles on faceoffs continues to be a problem: they lost 13 of 15 in the first period.
Overall, the Rangers were actually the better team in the opening period. They had the better scoring chances and outshot the Penguins 12-7.
This is quite similar to how their game against the Devils went. If they can work on their finishing ability, (and do something about their Johnson and Strome problems) they’ll become a prolific scoring team.
2nd period: The kids are alright
Just 32 seconds into the second, Jake Guentzel was penalized for delay of game, and the Rangers found themselves on the power play for the second time tonight. This was a pretty dreadful power play for the Rangers (and a great kill by Pittsburgh).
Shortly after the two minutes were up Phillip Di Giuseppe, who’s known for being a workhorse, did a fantastic job of taking the puck away and getting it to Filip Chytil, who maturely and skillfully scored his second goal of the season.
Less than five minutes into the period, Sidney Crosby was booked for slashing, sending the Rangers to the power play once a gain.
Panarin got the puck to Adam Fox, who scored his first goal of the season on one of the more beautiful slapshots you’ll see. Panarin’s assist would be his 100th point as a Ranger.
Shortly after, K’Andre Miller did a nice job of getting the puck to Di Giuseppe, whose shot was saved by Jarry. Kaapo Kakko, however, was able to get the rebound and put it in the net for his second of the year. The Rangers’ third line is here to play.
This was a milestone for Miller, who recorded his first career NHL point with the secondary assist.
That marked three goals in three minutes for the Rangers.
With just under 11 minutes left, Brendan Lemieux was penalized for tripping, sending Pittsburgh to the power play. This was an overall great kill by the Rangers.
Di Giuseppe continued his fantastic night by making some huge plays, and his teammates came up big, as well.
With under 4 minutes left, Rooney committed a tripping penalty, putting the Penguins on the power play once again. This penalty would prove to be costly.
Ryan Lindgren made a mindless play in front of the net by sliding the puck to Shesterkin with his hand in the hope that his goalie would cover it, but it ended up getting past Shesterkin into the net for a goal.
The Rangers did concede a goal this period, but they also scored an impressive three goals to give them the lead. The youngsters looked incredible.
3rd period: Unlucky Uncle Buch
Buchnevich had two great scoring opportunities to kick off the period, but was unable to score. 7:01 into the period, Jason Zucker tripped Lindgren and the Rangers were given a chance on the power play, but could not score.
With 9:46 left, Buchnevich had yet another great chance to score in front of the net, but Jarry wouldn’t let it get past him. Talk about being unlucky.
With just over eight minutes left, the moment Rangers fans were dreading arrived. Teddy Blueger was left undefended by the net, and was able to get one past Shesterkin to tie the game.
It’s classic Rangers, baby.
Overtime: So close, Fil
The Rangers’ first overtime of the season was pretty uneventful other than two great chances for Chytil that he couldn’t convert.
Shootout: No real surprises here…
The shootout pretty much went as expected. Shootouts are usually unpredictable, but it’s hard to bet against the incredibly experienced Pittsburgh veterans.
It’s tough to blame the goalie, but Shesterkin looked rough here, giving the shooters too much room to work with. The fact that Panarin was the only Ranger to score didn’t help.
This was a game that the Rangers deserved to win. They were the better team all throughout, but sloppy play and poor finishing on multiple chances had them leaving the game with just a point.
Note: Two players that Quinn insisted on dressing made costly mistakes. Johnson’s lost puck battle allowed Pittsburgh to get on the board first and Rooney’s penalty led to their second goal.
It looks like benching Gauthier and Smith wasn’t a good idea, after all.
Key Moment: Chytil with the hands
The key moment of the game was the Rangers’ first goal. Di Giuseppe’s beautiful play and Chytil’s filthy hands and goal tied the game and served as firepower for the Rangers, who went on to score three goals in three minutes.
Player of the game: Phillip Di Giuseppe
The only player to record multiple points, Di Giuseppe was the best Blueshirt on the ice.
Leading the team in ice time, Di Giuseppe recorded two primary assists, played incredibly hard, and made some big offensive and defensive plays in big moments.