The Pittsburgh Penguins traveled to New York, during a snow storm, to complete a home/away win. The team hoped to build off their exciting OT win, that was delivered by their captain. They would have to complete this game without the help of Kris Letang, as he was added to the list of tributes.
With Letang out, the “A” was given to Rust, and the Penguins looked to take another 2 points. However, the Rangers were looking to exorcise some demons.
As they met at center ice, the Rangers lit some sage, and had a choir sing, “Jesus take the Wheel” before the game. The game started out quickly with the Rangers pulling the first punch, as Bitetto took a shot on a screened DeSmith, but he was able to look around the crowd, and grabbed the puck. Crosby tried a pass through the net front, but no one was able to corral the puck. Jake was caught sleeping by Lemieux, and he had to trip him, leading to the first penalty of the night. Zibanejad (prepare to hear that name a lot) had a nice look at DeSmith, but shanked it wide. The puck doesn’t leave the zone, but ends up back on his stick, and this time DeSmith smoothers it. Di Giuseppe is left alone in the slot, but once again, DeSmith was quick to the top of the crease, to grab another shot. There was another fleury of bodies in front of the crease, as the 2nd line of the Rangers got a crack at DeSmith, but the Penguins were able to kill the PP. Right afterwards, Jake was able to get a jump on the Ranger defense and get a stick out for a deflection, but it went wide of the net. The Penguin 3rd line hit the ice, and add a burst of speed. Tanev sent a pass to POJ, and his shot was just wide of the net. Buchnevich sets up another fleury on the Penguin end, but the puck was dished to Rust, who tired to set up Crosby, but his shot was blocked. The 2nd line hits the ice, and Trouba rubs out Kapanen, but not before he can dump the puck into the open end. Malkin sharks around to scoop it up, and sends the puck back to the point, where Ruhwedel shoots wide of the net. Thankfully Zucker is there to collect the rebound, and beat the goalie to the short side. And once again, Zucker puts the Penguins in the lead to start the game.
Zucker (3) from Ruhwedel (1), Malkin (4) – 9:05 – EV
A nice heads up play from Zucker. Ruhwedel missed SO far left you wonder if he… no, he didn’t. But it worked out OK anyway.
Buchnevich tries to take over the game with a couple of shots of DeSmith. He single handle abusing DeSmith, and no Penguin seemed able to defend him. Rooney tries to also have his way with DeSmith, but Marino does his best Kevin Costner, and takes him out on boards. He grabs the puck and send a pass up ice to Tanev. He sent the puck to Blueger, who was able to draw a hooking penalty. Penguins on the PP. There were no good looks and no shots on this power play (prepare to hear that a lot). POJ with a good block on another Buchnevich shot. Scary play as Tanev steals the puck, and rushes up ice. Smith decided to take a run at Tanev, just as Bitetto arrives for aid. All 3 collide, but it appears that Tanev embraced the hit, and came out on top. Smith goes to the locker room, never to return. When asked about the hit, Tanev only replied, “Whoa”.
Rust speeds into the zone and gets a shot on net, Crosby grabs the puck, but cannot make a play, as he was obviously hacked by Trouba. That’s some Graves level stuff right there. Penguins go on the power play, in the remaining minutes of the period. Zucker is able to get the biscuit on net, but Shestyorkin holds it. Howden goes after Jake, and Evgeni takes exception to the contact. Kapanen chimed in and, decided to dance with Howden. Kap got his licks in, but the round goes to Howden.
Stats after one:
The period starts with a weird play, as Crosby deflects a puck off the crossbar (with a high stick). The ref lets play continue, and Sid takes the opportunity to revisit his Ruminski years by attempting to left the puck, and tuck into goal. No Go. The fourth line was more present this period, with some good puck possession. O’Connor tried a nice back-hand shot on net. Unfortunately, Lafferty goes into the corner with Lindgren, and causes a penalty. Thankfully, the Penguins are able to kill it, with the some great blocking by Tanev. The team follows up the PK with a rush by Marino. He fakes a shot, al la POJ, causing the ranger defense to bite hard, and Bitetto to interfere with Jake. TIME TO COMMENCE WITH THE JERK
Kreider takes a moment to say hello to Czuczman. They were discussing how to set up a IRA, when the rude refs told them to break it up. Ceci make a nice play to break-up a Ranger rush. The NY commenters remarked that the Penguins were more defensive this game. Both clubs were limited in shots during the first two periods. DeSmith made an athletic kick-save on a play from Kreider and Zibanejad. Lemieux stopped a Malkin puck with his face, which led Malkin skate over and ask, “if he was a special kind of stupid”
Crosby had a break away, flipped to the backhand, and rings it off the outside pipe. Miller then tripped Rust, leading to another …
Penguins are 0 for 16 on the power play this season. Well at this point of the game.
Miller comes out of the box, and almost scored on a break-away. At this point you are throwing objects in your house. Rooney and Czuczman battled in the front of DeSmith, with Rooney getting the better of him, and the refs called a penalty. However the Penguins were unable to get possession. So with an extra attacker, Rooney was able to stuff the puck past DeSmith, to tie the game. Now, you are lighting your house on fire.
Tanev gets tripped, and the Penguins go on their 5th PP for the game. Marino defers to Malkin, who sends it back to Marino, who sends it 71. End of period.
Stats after two:
The left over PP is quickly killed. 0 for 5. Lemieux send the Rangers to their 3rd PP, after getting slashed. Zibanejad repeatedly tried to set up Kreider, but the guins are able to kill it. The Rangers continue to build off their opportunities, and suddenly, DeSmith is under siege.
The pressure caused Ruhwedel to make a mistake, and shoot the puck over the glass. And now you can sense the end. Krieder—-Goal.
The penguins get another power-play, and this time, Malkin and POJ actually take shots from the point. Too little, too late. They pull the goalie, and are able to defend the open net pretty well, but defense doesn’t put up points.
You have lost all your Bit-Coin, and must leave the OASIS.
- Shestyorkin with 25 save on 26 shoots. WOOF.
- Jake was noticeable in the first, but tapered off during the game. Sidney has been oddly human during the few games I have watched. I’m just not used to that.
- Both teams settled in the second period, leading exciting back/forth play. But the Penguins forgot to play the 3rd.
- The lines are still not clinking on passes, but it does look a lot better.
- Why have Malkin on the point when he won’t shoot. I’m sure that is in the opposing scouting report. ‘Malkin on point, won’t shoot, cover Jake/Crosby’. Malkin has a weak shoulder, so those long distant shots are limited. I am in favor of: Splitting 71/87 and using two D on the point.
- Without Letang, most of the minutes were placed on Marino (30:44). I have no problem with this. Time to earn that contract kid.
Next game will be determined by Covid.