Coming off a rough 5-1 loss against the Penguins on Sunday night, the New York Rangers came out and suffered another loss to the Penguins. While the Rangers didn’t allow an early goal, the Penguins outplayed them through the first 10 minutes of the game. Though being outplayed, the Rangers got on the board first. The most unexpected goal scorer of the season, Jack Johnson, rifled a shot from the blue line into the back of the net. Jake Guentzel tied the game for the Penguins with just 66 seconds left in the first period. The Penguins scored a shorthanded goal early in the second and then scored again in the second period’s final minute. The third period had a different feel with the Rangers having some extra jump. The Rangers scored just over three minutes into the third period after a Penguins penalty.
The Rangers controlled much of the play in the third period, not allowing a shot on goal for the first 19:28 of the period. New York was only able to muster that one goal, though outshooting the Penguins 15-1. The lone Pittsburgh shot was an empty netter by Sidney Crosby. The 4-2 loss was one the Rangers suffered through. It felt like one of those games where you knew the team wasn’t going to break through, but it just looked like they were. That really showed late in the third period, when Tristan Jarry robbed Pavel Buchnevich twice in a row. Jarry saved the day for the Penguins which led to the Crosby empty netter. Ballgame over.
Early and Late Goals Kill Rangers
The true killer for the Rangers in the game was goals early and late in the periods. Of the four goals allowed by the Rangers, the Penguins scored all of them in the first or last three minutes of each period. Those are the back breakers that take the wind out of a team. Pittsburgh scored its first goal with 1:06 left in the first period to tie the game. Pittsburgh took the lead for good on a shorthanded goal just 2:40 into the second period. The Penguins extended that lead over the Rangers with 20 seconds to go in the second period. The Penguins scored the empty netter with 33 seconds to go, ending the game. Those first three goals were true back breakers, because they killed morale. A 1-0 lead heading to the second would’ve been huge, just as a 2-1 deficit headed to the third would’ve been.
This game was a heartbreaker for a Rangers team that suffered a terrible loss on Sunday to the Penguins. The Rangers have now lost back to back games and fallen back below .500. Now 24 games into the season, the Rangers sit in sixth in the East Division. The Rangers have 23 points and are 10-11-3, and have a chance to be either six or eight points out. They face a team they’re chasing, the Boston Bruins, on Thursday and Saturday. New York will hope to have Igor Shesterkin back from a groin injury, and if not, the team very well may run Keith Kinkaid out there again.