Rangers edged 1-0 by Penguins in a playoff preview

Feb 26, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) skates with the puck from behind the net as Pittsburgh Penguins center Jeff Carter (77) chases during the third period at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins shutout the Rangers 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) skates with the puck from behind the net as Pittsburgh Penguins center Jeff Carter (77) chases during the third period at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins shutout the Rangers 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Feb 26, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; The New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins get into a scrum after the whistle during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; The New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins get into a scrum after the whistle during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

About the game

You can’t blame the Rangers for a slow start.  Ryan Strome was stopped point blank by Tristan Jarry and Dryden Hunt was stymied on the rebound.  The Blueshirts got an early power play, but couldn’t get much going with two shots on goal on five shot attempts. The Rangers dominated most of the period.  In fact until the Penguins got a power play 14 minutes into the period, the Rangers had eight shots to only one for Pittsburgh.

On that penalty kill, the Rangers had two odd man rushes and Jarry made a nice save on Trouba’s attempt at a shorthanded goal.

With three minutes left in the period, Shesterkin made a stop on a shot by Jake Guentzel.  As he froze the puck, Sidney Crosby cross checked K’Andre Miller and when the Ranger pushed him away, he took a healthy whack at the defenseman.  No call, of course.

The period ended scoreless thought the Blueshirts had the better of the play. According to naturalstattrick.com, the Rangers had 21 shot attempts to 14 for Pittsburgh. Shots on goal were 12-6 in favor of New York though the Pens had four high danger scoring chances to two for the Rangers. There was a scrum at the end of the period as the bad blood between the teams was obvious.

The second period was scoreless as well.  They played six minutes 4v4 as Kevin Rooney and Evgeni Malkin were engaged in a personal battle throughout the period.  With no power plays, each team had 10 scoring chances with five each of the high danger variety.

The Penguins started to take over the game and Igor Shesterkin had to be at his best.  Eight minutes into the period, he made a brilliant glove save on a Danton Heinon shot through traffic.

There was some nastiness when Dryden Hunt got away with a cross check on John Marino who retaliated with a high stick.  Of course, the retaliation was not called and they evened it up with two roughing penalties.

The teams went into the third period in a scoreless tie with the Rangers boasting a 12-1-1 record when tied after two periods.  Not this time.

The Rangers couldn’t get anything going in the third and it led to a Pittsburgh power play when Ryan Lindgren was called for hooking Sidney Crosby on a breakaway at the 4:35 mark. The call was iffy as Lindgren actually didn’t come close to hooking him until after Crosby took the shot.  We’ve seen the same play numerous times with no penalty called.  Call it the Crosby factor.

34 seconds into the penalty, the Rangers were guilty of running around a bit and it left Malkin wide open to Shesterkin’s left.

Bryan Rust found him with a pass and Malkin made a really excellent shot to Shesterkin’s far side as he slid over to make the save.  90% of the players taking that shot would be going for the short side, but not Malkin.   1-0 Pittsburgh.

The Rangers had their chance with about 12 minutes left when Marcus Pettersson cross checked Dryden Hunt no less than four times before a penalty was called.   Jarry made two outstanding saves on Chris Kreider and Adam Fox and the Rangers couldn’t score.  The penalty ended on a point shot from Jacob Trouba that Jarry stopped.

That was it for the Rangers as they could muster only four shots on goal the rest of the game though they some chances as time expired.


Here’s a five minute video recap of the game.

This was a close game that could have gone either way. The Rangers ended up outshooting the Penguins 27-26, outhit them 43-39 and they won 54% of the draws.  The difference was the one power play goal.