The New York Rangers looked ice cold against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night…and even in the sport that was once referred to as “The Coolest Game on Earth”, that’s a problem.
In a de facto battle for first place in the Metropolitan Division, the Rangers again couldn’t solve the team that eliminated them last season, dropping a 7-2 decision at PPG Paints Arena. Including the final trio of losses against the Penguins in last year’s quarterfinal defeat, the Rangers are 1-5-0 against Pittsburgh in their last six meetings.
Pittsburgh got off to a fast start, thanks to, who else, Sidney Crosby. With Kevin Klein serving a double minor for high sticking, Crosby put in his league-high 22nd goal of the season for the first goal of the game. Though that goal was part of a 22-shot period for the Penguins, the Rangers (23-11-1), who mustered 10, managed to end the frame in a stalemate with Matt Peumpel’s second goal of the year.
Though the Rangers picked up the pace in the middle period, outshooting the Penguins 14-8, they allowed two more goals, first to Evgeni Malkin, before Phil Kessel added another on a power play, where Pittsburgh went 3-for-5 on the evening. In the final period, thing completely fell apart after Michael Grabner managed to trim the
lead to 3-2. Four Penguins goals, however jacked up the score, the most notable being Patric Hornqvist putting in one last power play goal. Antti Raanta was the unfortunate victim behind each of the seven goals, forced to face 47 shots on the night, stopping 40 of them
Fortunately for the Rangers, they do not face the Penguins (21-7-5) until the late stages of the year, with a match on March 31.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490.