The Pittsburgh Penguins came into Madison Square Garden hoping to kick their recent losing streak. In order to do so, they were hoping getting a couple key players back from injury would help. Jake Guentzel returned which helped solidify that top line with Sid and Sheary. After Sid’s line got off to a 2-0 lead, the Pens would need the shoot out to beat the Rangers by the final score of 4-3.
Pittsburgh came into Friday’s game very injured and on a 4 game losing streak. Missing Letang, Hansey, Maatta, Malkin, Guentzel, Daley, and Carl Hagelin. The Pens would in fact get both Hansey and Guentzel back which was a nice lift. Something else Pittsburgh had on it’s side was the fact that the Rangers were a bit snake bitten at home as they had lost their last 8 in a row there.
The first period went scoreless as Lundqvist was at his best in net against the Pens fending off 15 shots by Pittsburgh. That mastery though would end as the Pens would net 2 in the second period including a welcome back goal by Guentzel from a feed by Sid, followed by a Sidney Crosby goal. The Crosby goal would come from a sharp angle along the goal line, near the boards off the back of Lundqvist’s head and into the net. It was a pretty goal and one that I am sure the netminder was not happy with.
The Rangers would cut the lead in half by the end of the second only to see the lead balloon back out to 3-1 with a Penguins goal by Rust. It was at that point that the Rangers started to control the puck in the offensive end and Murray was put to the test. The defense did a poor job clearing pucks and keeping traffic away from Murray. In the end, Matt Murray would surrender two goals during the period, including one with 13 seconds left to tie the game.
In overtime though, Matt Murray may have found his magic as he defended a 3-0 break with a game saving play. Murray was different from that point on in net. He was a wall and was strong for the remainder of the overtime period.
The reason I say something changed is the fact that Murray has struggled in shootout’s this season. He surrenders more goals in this situation then most other situations. Last night was different. Murray stopped the first two shots by the Rangers with nice athletic plays. On the other side of the ice, Kessel and Crosby both scored to end the game. Final score in New York, Pens 4 Rangers 3.
Pittsburgh is coming home on Sunday to host Carolina at 5pm.