A great hockey game was capped off by a bizarre ending
In something players and coaches had never seen, the Penguins had lost in the shootout to the New York Rangers, only minutes later had to scramble back to the ice from the locker room after a Dan Boyle goal was reversed.
Pittsburgh would then take advantage beating Henrik Lundqvist 5-hole and Rick Nash was stopped by Marc Andre Fleury as the Penguins went from believing they lost a game to officially beating the Rangers 3-2.
“I never saw anything like it,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said afterwards. “Most of the players didn’t see it as we were coming into the room, so then we had to scramble to get guys back on the bench.”
Goaltenders Henrik Lundqvist and Marc Andre Fleury were both in their stalls their equipment off before the teams were called back to the ice. Emotionally the Penguins were the ones with everything to win when you go from believing you lost a game to suddenly it’s not over.
The NHL made the correct call and in the Rangers locker room there were no complaints, just frustrations in how it played out.
“It was very tough to regroup, that’s for sure,” Henrik Lundqvist said afterwards via the New York Post. “As I heard Boyler explain what happened, I kind of had a feeling … but it’s extremely frustrating. “You think you have the two points and are relaxing but then you have to go back,” The King said. “You have everything to lose and they have everything to win … there’s no excuse, obviously, but it’s tough.”
A PLAYOFF TYPE MENTALITY FROM BOTH TEAMS
Tuesday night the New York Rangers came out with a playoff mentality and Pittsburgh never matched it, losing 5-0. Saturday night it was a different story. Both teams played with emotion and intensity and it’s going to be one of the best regular season games we may see all year from an intensity standpoint.
From the second period on, both teams gave it their all and it felt like a game 7 with great saves at both ends, including Henrik Lundqvist stopping Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang on breakaway’s in overtime.
“Both goaltenders were phenomenal,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. Lundqvist made 36 saves, Marc Andre Fleury 29.
The New York Rangers won period one, outscoring Pittsburgh 2-1 and controlled the play. Pittsburgh, though, owned the territorial edge in periods two and three. Lee Stempniak (4) and Marty St. Louis (6) were the goal scorers for New York in the game, Blake Comeau (4) and Evgeni Malkin (7) for Pittsburgh.
“It’s hard to defend a lead when you don’t have the puck and are chasing it,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said afterwards. “We need to make plays, possess the puck, and cycle with it at the other end. You need to be confident with the puck to protect leads.”
The Penguins in the second period capitalized off a Dan Boyle turnover with Nick Spaling setting up Evgeni Malkin for a one-timer goal to tie the game at 2-2.
PK STRONG IN OT, 3-ON-3 ACTION
The Penguins won their second shootout victory of the season and it their second shootout win for when they had to kill off a 4 on 3 penalty through the end of overtime. Brandon Sutter who was 15 of 17 in the faceoff circle, is evolving into one of the best 4 on 3 & 5 on 3 penalty killers in the game.
Elsewhere, penalties to Kris Letang and Carl Hagelin saw some 3 on 3 action in OT and the Penguins got out-coached in the situation.
The Penguins came out with Chris Kunitz and Rob Scuderi, Paul Martin, while the Rangers countered with Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider and Dan Boyle. New York had basically three forwards on the ice and too much speed, leading to a Kreider breakaway opportunity and Kreider was pulled down by Rob Scuderi for a tripping call.
With a 3-on-3 situation and somebody like Kreider on the ice, that’s a tough spot to put Scuderi in. The decision could have backfired.