If you have been keeping track of the Ranger’s season so far, it is no surprise when I say that they have been struggling to obtain wins in their matchups. Throughout the games they gain chances and create opportunities, however fall short of keeping this momentum throughout the entirety of play. Watching the matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night, this theme was present in much of the first two periods. In fact the first period alone was not a great start for the blue shirts as the Penguins got onto the boards first with a goal by Jason Zucker. Zucker received the rebound shot off the boards and shot into an empty slot as Igor Shesterkin was out too far from trying to deflect the puck towards the corner in an original shot. However, the best part of the first period, and for the game actually, was their penalty killing capability. In this period alone they successively fought off two power kills and even more impressively didn’t allow the Penguins one shot on net under the penalty on Jonny Brodzinski for hooking.
Moving into the second it was apparent that the Penguins had come to win as they dominated the Ranger zone for a large majority of its start. They out performed the Rangers in puck possession and face offs, yet they did not lead in shots on goal. Chris Kreider during a short handed opportunity fought off four players as he rushed towards the net, bringing the puck in towards his skates at one point right before the shot to remain in possession. This didn’t result in a goal, however their battle did not end and minutes later Kevin Rooney managed to put one in to tie the game. Rooney kept with the puck down in the low corner and managed to squeeze it behind goaltender Casey DeSmith as there was a delayed penalty on the Penguins which allowed six skaters on for the Blue Shirts. The period ended in a 1-1 tie heading into the third.
The third was the best period by far for the Rangers. They kept the puck in the offensive zone which allowed them another goal scored by Kreider who tipped the puck in over DeSmith from a shot by defenseman Adam Fox. The third goal of the night was an empty netter by the Breadman himself, Artemi Panarin. Panarin who was positioned just out from the net, shot it with 0.5 seconds remaining in the period to give the Rangers their 3-1 win.
The New York Rangers deserve credit for killing all six penalties against them and their turn around with determined play in the third giving them their win. If the next few games correlate to their third period performance, I bet we can expect to see a huge turn around in their win to losses. Next game is Thursday 2/4/2021 against the Washington Capitals at home.