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; New York Rangers right wing Ryan Reaves (75) plays the puck after being knocked to the ice by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers right wing Ryan Reaves (75) plays the puck after being knocked to the ice by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Notes on the game

The loss dropped the Ranger back into third place with a record of 33-14-5, but they have two games in hand on the Penguins. The Blueshirts are sixth overall in points percentage.

This was the third time this season the Rangers have been shut out with two of the losses by a 1-0 score.

The Rangers have played 31 one-goal games with a record of 19-7-5.  That includes games with empty net goals that would have been one-goal games.

The Rangers have a 6-4-0 record against Met Division teams.  After March 15, the team plays 14 of their final 23 games against Metropolitan Division teams.

Now that they have played Pittsburgh, the only teams they have not faced so far this season are Winnipeg and St. Louis.

The Rangers had killed 11 penalties in a row before Malkin scored.

The lack of power play opportunities is becoming an issue as teams are working hard to stay out of the penalty box.  This was the fifth straight game the Rangers had only one or two power plays.  For a team that needs to score on special teams, it’s hurting them a lot.

Igor Shesterkin was outstanding as usual and has allowed only 10 goals in the last seven games. He improved his league leading goals against average to 1.95 and save percentage to .941.  In the post-expansion era, the only Ranger goalie to finish with a GAA below 2.00 was Henrik Lundqvist who registered 1.97 in 2011-12.  That season, the Swede also registered the best save percentage with .930 since they started keeping track in 1955.

Chris Kreider came close to scoring, leading the team with six shots on goal.

The Rangers’ shut down line of Kevin Rooney, Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Reaves did an excellent job on the Malkin line.  Reaves had four hits, second to Ryan Lindgren and Julien Gauthier who had five hits each.

In a change, Morgan Barron was moved to the wing with Greg McKegg at center. After the game Gallant said that there was no special reason.

Adam Fox led all skaters, playing 26:22 minutes.  He had a great chance to tie the game on the last Rangers’ power play, but Jarry stopped him.

Ryan Strome is slumping with only two goals and 10 points in 18 games.  With Dryden Hunt ineffective on offense, it’s not helping Artemi Panarin who is clearly trying too hard with no support from his linemates.  It’s becoming a bigger issue with the Zibanejad line the only one that can be counted on for even strength scoring.

Though Dryden Hunt has been unable to dent the scoresheet, he was effective as an agitator, clearly driving the Penguins crazy. He has to do that in order to contribute.

The ABC telecast left a lot to be desired.  They couldn’t get their penalty clock working for the first two power plays and the announcers didn’t even notice so we had no idea how much time was left.   The reliance on the moving high shot was annoying.  It’s a silly camera angle that induces motion sickness and makes it difficult to follow the puck.  Someone needs to tell the folks at ABC to put that camera in the box it came in and never use it again.

Early on they didn’t show any replays.  The first was when Chris Kreider took his first period penalty 14 minutes in.  Of course they showed the Malkin goal six times from six different angles.

The ABC announcers were better than the ESPN team, but their glorification of Sidney Crosby was over the top.  We know he’s good.  Also, at one point Sean McDonaugh said the puck was “stopped by a Ranger.”  Nice of him to know the players.

They had a microphone on Crosby the entire game.  They showed two sequences and the Penguins star literally just grunted. If it isn’t worth anything, don’t show it.