Jussi Jokinen (7) scored in regulation and delivered the game deciding goal in the shootout as the Pittsburgh Penguins (29-10-0, 58 pts) earned a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Rangers (18-15-4, 40 pts) on Friday night at the Consol Energy Center.
Marc Andre Fleury was a perfect 3-for-3 in the shootout as the Penguins snapped a two game losing streak.
In a game that had a playoff feel about it, Fleury put on a clinic tonight as he treated fans to some of the best goaltending your going to see. Fleury carried a shutout late into the third period until Rick Nash scored off a lost Brandon Sutter faceoff with 4:49 left in the third period to tie the game at 1-1 for the Rangers who were buzzing in the third period, outshooting Pittsburgh 14-4 in the period.
Fleury was forced to make several highlight reel saves and stood up to the challenge nearly every time as he was brilliant tonight.
JOKINEN MAKES IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Jussi Jokinen was tremendous in the win. Jokinen logged 15:02 of ice time, registering a goal in regulation, the game deciding shootout goal and was 13 of 15 (86.7%) in the faceoff circle.
Known for his faceoff ability, Jokinen was 6 of 7 on defensive zone draws and 3 of 3 in offensive zone draws. Jokinen owned Rangers top line center Derek Stepan on draws, winning 10 of 11 faceoffs against Stepan.
Jokinen made an immediate impact and was very noticeable for much of the game. He had a lot of hop in his legs and I was also really impressed with the little things he did such as down low in the defensive zone and his wall play in the offensive zone.
NEAL CONCUSSED? BENNETT TO BE RECALLED?
Injuries are piling up for the Penguins who have nine games remaining in the regular season. James Neal left the game in the third period with a possible concussion after taking a Michael Del Zotto elbow to the head. Neal was immediately disoriented and for a few seconds there looked like he didn’t have a clue where he was. Neal did not return to the game.
If Neal does indeed have a concussion, look for the Penguins to recall Beau Bennett who would figure to slide into the left wing spot with Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla on the top line, letting Iginla slide back to right wing as Iginla on left wing just isn’t working out. Iginla did not have a strong game tonight.
PHYSICAL PLAYOFF TYPE OF GAME
The New York Rangers are going to be a team no one is going to want to play come playoff time as they play a gritty type of game and have great goaltending. They play the type of style that is going to make them a tough out, despite not being a high scoring team. Tonight’s game felt like a playoff game and was filled with a lot of physicality from both teams and Douglas Murray delivered the hit of the night, a crushing hit on Brian Boyle in the third period.