8.1 seconds. That's all the time the Penguins' needed to tick off the clock in the third period to extend their winning streak to four games.
Instead, they'll settle for extending their "unbeaten in regulation" streak to four games. What a joke.
It seems that the Penguins may be experiencing early-onset Alzheimer's, considering they seemed to have forgotten blowing a three-goal lead against the Capitals just nine days ago.
You would think they would have learned that they can not take a period off, regardless of how big their advantage on the scoreboard may be.
But instead, the Penguins surrendered 18 shots to the Rangers, while posting only two of their own in the third period, en route to a Rangers victory in the shootout.
No one expected either of these two evenly-matched teams to dominate this game. The Rangers were coming off a hard-fought 3-1 victory at Columbus, and the Penguins and the word "dominate" should never be placed in the same sentence when Madison Square Garden is involved.
The Rangers carried the play for the first half of the first period. They tested Fleury early, but the Flower looked ready to carry the load for the Penguins yet again.
It wasn't until Darryl Sydor, who had not scored a goal in 46 games, got a lucky bounce that the Penguins showed some signs of life outside of the defensive zone.
On the back end of a Way Overrated—I mean, Wade Redden—penalty, Kris Letang got the puck deep to Tyler Kennedy behind the Rangers' net. As the penalty expired, Kennedy got the puck to Sydor at the point. Sydor did what any solid veteran defenseman would do in the situation, and got the puck to the net.
The puck bounced off of Michal Roszival's leg, then off of Marc Staal in front of the net, before eventually landing behind Henrik Lundqvist to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
After the goal—the fifth by a Pittsburgh defenseman this season—the Pens carried the play for the rest of the period.
Evgeni Malkin made a sick play when he took the puck below the goal line off of a rebound and flipped a nifty backhand pass to Pascal Dupuis in the slot. Dupuis wasn't on an odd-man rush, so naturally he didn't score. Lundqvist made a solid shoulder save to keep the Rags within one.
Brooks Orpik is leading the NHL in hits. He is also leading the NHL in terrible outlet passes in the defensive zone. Orpik turned the puck over three times during the first period, one of which provided former Penguins Markus Naslund with a good scoring chance in the slot.
During the second period, play opened up a little more at both ends of the ice. The Pens rattled off 13 shots, while the Rangers tested Fleury 16 times during the period.
At 15:59 of the second, Sidney Crosby cashed in for his third goal of the season.
Letang turned in the shift of his life, getting the puck on the net three times. Eventually a rebound was kicked out to the point, where Alex Goligoski fired a shot to the net. Malkin got a stick on the loose puck, keeping it alive behind Lundqvist. Crosby was able to find the loose biscuit and bury it, extending the Penguins' lead to two goals.
Just over 30 seconds later, the Rangers were given a golden opportunity to get themselves back into the game. Orpik and Mike Praying Zigomanis were penalized for slashing and interference, respectively.
The Rangers were looking at a full two minutes of five-on-three hockey. Enter MAF.
Fleury turned aside eight shots on the ensuing power play, and the Rangers hopes of erasing the two-goal deficit began to look very grim by the end of the period.
The third period saw the Penguins register just two shots on goal to the Rangers' 18. It also saw the Rangers score at 5:09—and again with eight seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
The Rangers' first goal came when Scott Jokemez setup Naslund in the slot. Naslund beat Fleury through the five-hole to pull the Rangers to within a single goal.
Fleury held his ground for the next 15 minutes, but an ill-advised play late in the period cost the Penguins two points.
With Lundqvist out of the net, Sidney Crosby whirled a backhand shot toward the empty cage from center ice. Crosby could have very easily softly dumped the puck into the corner and headed to the bench for a change. Instead, he got greedy and attempted to score on the empty net.
Crosby's shot sailed wide and the Rangers quickly turned the puck into an odd-man rush.
Naslund found Nikolai Zherdev on the right wing, and Zherdev wristed a quick shot over Fleury's shoulder to tie the game with just 8.1 seconds remaining.
The game headed into overtime, tied at two.
Michel Therrien must have had some harsh words for the Penguins before the overtime period, because they doubled their third-period shot total during the five minutes of OT.
Despite the Penguins' efforts, they couldn't beat Lundqvist, and the game would be decided by a shootout.
Zherdev, Letang, Dawes and Sykora were all denied before Freddy Sjostrom beat Fleury on the backhand to give the Rangers a 1-0 advantage.
Crosby was the Penguins' final shooter and tried to fool Lundqvist with some shoulder fakes. Lundqvist was dialed in and turned away the shot, giving the Rangers a 3-2 victory.
Final Score: New York 3 Pittsburgh 2
- Hal Gill missed his second consecutive game with an undisclosed injury.
- Matt Cooke was back in the lineup for the Pens tonight, but he played on the fourth line with Ziggy and Eric Godard. Cooke showed some good chemistry with Max Talbot before his injury, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him reunited with Talbot on Tuesday.
- The Pens surrendered 42 shots. This game could have very easily been five or six to two without the stellar play of Fleury between the pipes.
- Crosby and Malkin kept their point streaks alive, but either of them would have likely exchanged their individual points for two team points tonight.
- The Rangers haven't lost a regular season game against the Pens at the Garden since the 2006-07 season.
- Is there an Amber Alert out for Chris Drury in New York yet?
- Jordan Staal turned in another solid performance tonight. Unlike his brother Marc, who might be one of the most confused-looking human beings on Earth, Jordan is starting to come around.
- The Pens are heading west this week, with games against San Jose, Phoenix, and St. Louis beginning on Tuesday night.
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