-Welcome to the "last day of school." That's how Jeff Zatkoff characterized tonight's game. With the Olympic break scheduled to begin for the Penguins tomorrow, these guys will scatter. A handful of players and management will travel to Sochi while the rest will head to vacation spots for a week.
-Tanner Glass will travel to London, Ont. and Lisbon, Portugal with his family, including his son who was born in September. Glass needed to get a passport for his son and needed to "prop" him up for the photo. Rob Scuderi said he was taking his kids to Disney World and quipped, "hopefully I never have to do it again." Brandon Sutter is heading home to Alberta which is tad colder than Florida in February.
-The big picture with Kris Letang's health will always be his life away from hockey. By all accounts, his stroke has not impacted him a great deal in that regard. Heck, he's only expected to be sidelined six weeks because of this.
-Of an extreme secondary concern, is his ability to play hockey. Furthermore, his ability to develop chemistry with Rob Scuderi. The Penguins had hoped he would provide a stabilizing element to Letang's willingness to gamble. Scuderi offered that cushion in Los Angeles for Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov and they became two of the better young defensemen in the NHL. But injuries to each player have limited their playing time together. After the Olympic break, assuming Letang is able-bodied, one of the biggest goals for the Penguins is to find a way to develop chemistry between these two players.
-This situation adds another layer of dirt the Penguins will need to sort through in order to figure out what to do at the trade deadline. Presumably, if they want to make a move, they'll have to deal away a defenseman. If Letang's status is uncertain, it's hard to imagine them wanting to move a defenseman, even if they have a ton of depth at that position.
-The Rangers arrive in Pittsburgh coming off a poor 2-1 home loss to the Oilers last night. We would expect a pretty ticked off and determined effort by the Rangers tonight. They need a rebound in the big way. This might be a "weather-the-storm" type of start for the Penguins tonight.
-Fans entering the barn:
-There are plenty of Rangers fans on hand. Derek Stepan:
-There are a few Olympic jerseys. Brooks Orpik Team USA:
-Sidney Crosby Team Canada:
-A rare Mark Messier-Rangers/Ryan Malone-Penguins combination:
-The always rare Henrik Lundqvist-Rangers/Darius Kasparaitis/Penguins combo:
-This is a jersey foul but we'll allow it because Pavel Bure of the Canucks is just awesome:
-This duo clearly recognizes the most important position on the ice. Tom Barrasso and Marc-Andre Fleury:
-Jersey of the Night: Former Penguins/Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr:
-The Penguins' starters are Jussi Jokinen, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Chuck Kobasew, Kris Letang and Taylor Pyatt.
-The Rangers' starters are Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist.
-Their scratch is Justin Falk.
-No Jimerson. No photo.
19:32: Nash chips a little wrister form the right wing corner on net. Fleury kicks it out.
18:56: The Rangers strike first. Marc Staal drives a slapper from the left point wide of the cage. It hits off the end boards and bounces to the right of the cage. Mats Zucarello gets a step on Tanner Glass and jabs the rebound on net. Fleury is able to pin the puck against the right post with his left skate. Zuccarello jabs at the puck but Fleury holds it out. Benoit Pouliot follows up on the rebound and pokes it into the cage. That was a bit of a fluky play. Kudos to the Rangers forwards for jumping on the puck as they did. Pouliot gets credit. Zuccarello and Staal get assists. Rangers 1-0.
16:35: Martin is skating with Robert Bortuzzo. The Rangers dump a puck into the Penguins' end boards. Kreider chases after it with Bortuzzo. They crash into the end boards and Bortuzzo pinches off Kreider. That allows Martin to swoop in and skate the puck out of danger.
15:28: Malkin lugs the puck into the offensive zone on the right wing and leaves a drop pass for Niskanen at the right point. Niskanen steps up and whacks a one-timer which Lundqvist steers away.
13:45: John Moore chucks a wrister from the left point. It gets blocked in front.
13:30: Chasing a dump-in, Glass smacks Kevin Klein into the Rangers' left corner boards.
13:04: Using Girardi as a screen, Neal snaps off tricky wrister from the right circle. Lundqvist fights it off.
12:49: Taking a pass from Jokinen above the right circle, Maatta cranks a one-timer timer which Lundqvist denies.
12:23: Derick Brassard chops a slapper from above the left circle. Fleury fights it off.
11:57: Big save. Off a turnover by Nash, Gibbons deals a pass to Crosby in the neutral zone. Crosby races by Nash and attacks the net. He lifts a wrister which Lundqvist eats up. Nash owes Lundqvist a beer.
10:41: Off an ugly turnover by Bortuzzo from behind his net, Dominic Moore deals a pass to Daniel Carcillo in the right circle. Carcillo leans down and lifts a one-timer over the cage.
10:00: Using Niskanen as a screen, Brad Richards releases a tricky wrister from the left circle. Fleury snags it.
9:45: The Penguins will get the first power play as Carl Hagelin is called for interference against Malkin. Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Chris Kunitz and Niskanen take the ice.
8:29: Off a cross-ice pass by Kunitz, Crosby cranks a one-timer from the right circle which Lundqvist boots out.
8:17: Olli Maatta to the rescue. Martin takes a pass at the center point and chops a slapper at the cage. It hits a body or two and rattles around. Crosby is position to the left of the net and taps the puck back into the pads of Lundqvist. It bounces out to the other side of the crease. Maatta sneaks in from the left wing and cleans up the garbage. Another ugly goal. Crosby and Jokinen get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1, Rangers 1.
7:18: A wraparound attempt by Jayson Megna from the right of the cage is denied.
6:33: A wrister by Anton Stralman from the right point is blocked by Craig Adams.
5:37: Maatta almost got a second goal. Off a rush from Malkin, Maatta takes a pass on the left wing and flips a backhander on net which Lundqvist fights off.
4:54: Off a feed from Gibbons in the right wing corner, Crosby flings a wrister on net which Lundqvist fights off.
4:31: Gibbons gains the offensive zone and leaves a drop pass for Kunitz. From above the left circle, Kunitz lifts a wrister on net which Lundqvist snags.
4:09: A wrister by Glass from the left circle hits Adams in the slot.
3:22: McDonagh snaps off a wrister from the right point which Fleury steers away.
3:11: Off a little give and go, Stepan has a chance in right but loses the puck before he can get a shot off thanks to a poke check by Fleury.
2:27: A wrister by Nash from the right circle is blocked out of play.
2:09: A slapper by Staal from the right point is blocked.
1:27: Ryan Callaghan gets a step on Niskanen on the right wing and releases a wrister which Fleury steers away.
0:24: Adams chips an easy wrister from the right half wall on net. Lundqvist eats it up.
0:13: Martin snaps off a wrister from the right point which Lundqvist snags.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Rangers 1.
-That was a period of surges. The Rangers had an early surge in the first handful of minutes. The Penguins controlled the middle portion of the period while Rangers controlled things late.
-Olli Maatta is 19. We're still trying to grasp that concept.
-Brian Gibbons continued to show some chemistry with Crosby as he set him up with a handful of quality scoring chances.
-Lundqvist was pretty tuned in that period.
-The Rangers have a 15-12 lead in shots on net.
-The Penguins lead in attempted shots, 24-23.
-Maatta, Crosby and Nash each lead the game with three shots.
-McDonagh leads the game with 9:06 of ice time.
-Martin leads the Penguins with 7:47 of ice time.
-The Rangers have a 13-9 lead in faceoffs (59 percent).
-Richards is 4 for 5 (80 percent).
-Malkin is 5 for 8 (63 percent).
-Giradi leads the game with two blocked shots.
-The Penguins distributed multiple versions of Icetime with Olympic themes:
19:47: Stepan swipes a slapper from the right point which Fleury punches away.
19:30: THe Rangers will get a power play as Neal is called for slashing. He hacked Kreider's stick into two piece. Brandon Sutter, Adams, Maatta and Scuderi take the ice.
19:26: The Rangers don't waste time. Brassard beats Sutter for the faceoff in the left circle. Girardi takes the puck at the left point and smacks a half slapper through traffic and by the glove hand of Fleury. Pouliot has a nice screen in front of Fleury and blocked his view of the puck. Brassard gets the only assist. Rangers 2-1.
19:05: Off a rush up right wing, Crosby rips a wrister which Girardi blocks.
17:40: Staal steps up and whacks a slapper from the right circle wide of the cage.
15:49: Pouliot tries to push the puck up the right wing and is dropped on a shoulder. check by Niskanen.
15:39: Pouliot tries to jam in a puck from the right of the cage. As Fleury holds it out, a handful of Penguins fight him off.
15:30: Off a rush by Crosby, Kunitz taps a shot from the left circle. Lundqvist steers it away.
14:47: Kreider releases a sharp angle wrister from the right wing. Fleury kicks it away.
14:09: Carcillo chips and chases a puck up the right wing he tries to poke it by Orpik and is smacked by Orpik. Orpik is called for interference. That's a questionable call. If this was 2005-06, that's interference. But it's 2013-14. Crosby, Adams, Scuderi and Maatta take the ice.
13:47: A slapper by Girardi from the right circle. Fleury kicks it out and plays the rebound down ice.
12:56: A slapper by Richards from the right point is blocked by a sliding Glass.
12:50: Richards tees up a one-timer from the high slot which Fleury fights off.
11:58: Off an Adams feed, Malkin cranks a one-timer from the right wing over the cage.
11:49: The Penguisn will get another power play as Nash is called for interference against Maatta. Kunitz, Crosby, Niskanen, Neal and Malkin take the ice.
11:31: Tie game. Playing hot potato with the puck in the right circle, Neal and Malkin dish the puck back and forth. Malkin finally releases a one-timer to the far side which squeaks behind Lundqvist. The Penguins' power play is clicking tonight. Neal and Niskanen get assists. The "Hey Song" is always clicking. Penguins 2, Rangers 2.
10:52: Off a turnover by Jokinen in his right circle, Hagelin lifts a wrister on net. Fleury fights it off.
9:55: Engelland chucks a wrister from the right wing on net. Lundqvist punches it away.
9:33: Girardi cranks a one-timer form the right point which Fleury kicks it out. Brassard has a chance at the rebound but loses control of it.
8:34: Carcillo chops a slapper from above the right cirlcle over the cage.
7:22: Callahan tries to jam in a backhand wraparound from the right of the cage. Fleury holds it out.
6:33: After a turnover by the Penguins in their own zone, Nash has a chance in tight but can't get a clean backhander on net. He battles for the puck behind the cage but trips up Niskanen. That gives the Penguins a power play. Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Niskanen and Malkin take the ice.
6:20: Off a cross ice feed from Malkin, Crosby cranks a one-timer from the right circle over the cage.
6:11: Off a feed by Niskanen, Malkin chops a one-timer from center point which Lundvist kicks out.
5:54: Neal battle for the puck at the blue line and is hooked up by Hagelin at the blue line. Neal takes a tumble and play is blown dead. Hagelin gets a tripping minor while Neal is called for embellishing. Neal was given a diving minor Saturday in Phoenix.
5:46: Jokinen lifts a backhander from the right circle wide to the far side.
4:50: Malkin takes a pass from the right circle and plays it into the crease. Lundqvist scramble to keep it out. s play is blown dead, Zuccarello charges at Kunitz after he hacked at Lundqvist. Kunitz responds with some punches. A scrum develops. Kunitz gets a double minor for roughing while Zuccarello gets only one roughing minor. Play will be four-on-four for 17 seconds. Officials are calling things tight tonight.
4:47: Off an offensive zone zone faceoff win, Girardi releases a wrister from above the right circle which Fleury fights off.
4:33: Nash returns to play. The Rangers now have a five on four power play for 1:43.
4:21: Kreider pumps a slapper from the right wing on net. Fleury fights it off.
3:52: A pass attempt by Nash is broken up. Adams clears the rebound down ice.
3:32: Pouliot races up the right wing and lifts a wrister on net. Fleury fights it off.
3:21: Working on the penalty kill, Crosby knocks John Moore into the Rangers' right wing corner and knocks him off the puck.
2:50: Megna takes the ice and play returns to five-on-five.
1:36 Off a feed by Jokinen, Neal fans on a one-timer from the slot.
1:24: Attendance is announced as 18,661. It is the team's 314th consecutive sellout.
0:33: Stralman snaps off a wrister from the right circle. fight sit off. Nash has a chance at the rebound but has it stolen off his stick by Gibbons.
0:16: A wrister by Strlman from above the right cirlce is blocked.
0:07: After icing the puck, the Penguins call a timeout to get a breather.
0:00: End of period. As the horn sounds. Hagelin and Glass mix it up at the Penguins' left point. Nothing comes of it. Penguins 2, Rangers 2.
-That was a tough period to get a feel for. There were so many special teams and neither squad could really generate much sustained momentum.
-Officials are calling this tight. These are calls we would expect in 2005-06.
-Neal took his second diving/embellishing penalty within a span of a week. That's room for concern. Officials keep track of who does that stuff and they don't forget.
-The Rangers have had some success at setting up shop near the Penguins' cage. Almost all of their offensive chances have involved a body or two being near Fleury.
-The Rangers lead in shots on net, 32-21.
-The Rangers lead in attempted shots, 50-37.
-Crosby leads the game with six shots.
-Kreider leads the Rangers with five shots.
-Girardi leads the game with 17:08 of ice time.
-Niskanen leads the Penguins with 15:24.
-The Penguins have a 24-21 lead in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Richards is 10 for 15 (67 percent).
-Crosby is 11 for 19 (58 percent).
-Girardi leads the game with three blocked shots.
-None of the Penguins has more than one blocked shot.
17:56: A wrister by Sutter from above the right circle is fought off by Lundqvist.
17:34: Nash snaps off a wrister from the right wing. Fleury eats it up.
17:20: A wrister by Boyle from the right point is blocked.
16:54: A wrister by Staal from the left point is blocked by Engelland.
16:38: Play is halted due to a skirmish in front of the Rangers' bench. Harry Zolnierczyk and Dominic Moore mix it up after Carcill dropped Zolnierczyk to the ice. Moore and Zolnierczyk are each sent off for roughing. We'll see four-on-four play for two minutes.
16:06: Nash fires a spinning wrister from the slot which is just wide of the cage.
15:26: Neal race sin off the right wing and attacks the net. He loses the puck on a nice stick-on-puck by Staal.
14:51: Zuccarello deals a pass from the right circle to Klein in the high slot. Klein rips wrister which Fleirh
14:46: Richards chucks a wrister from the right point. Fleury eats it up.
14:36: As Zolnierczyk and Dominic Moore return, a wrister by Jokinen from the right wing is punched away by Lundqvist.
14:34: The Niskanen will get another power play as McDonagh is called for holding Jokinen behind the Rangers' cage. Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Niskanen and Kunitz take the ice.
14:30: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Niskanen whacks a one-timer form the right point. Fleury fights it off.
13:21: Malkin chucks a wrister from the right point. Lundqvist eats it up despite traffic. A handful of Rangers players give the business to Kunitz afterwards but nothing comes of it.
13:03: off a cross-ice feed by Maatta, Jokinen rips a wrister which Lundqvist snags.
12:35: Off some tic-tac-toe passing Mlakin steers a shot from the right circle which Lundqvist finds a way to break up.
11:47: Off a neutral zone turnover by Sutter, Kreider fires a spinning pass to Nash on the right wing. Nash hurries the shot and hits the side of the cage.
11:02: Another penalty. Orpik is called for holding Brassard in the Penguins' right wing corner. Martin, Adams, Crosby and Scuderi take the ice
10:36: And the Rangers cash in immediately. Off a feed by Richards, Girardi chucks a wrister from the center point. it hits off the end boards. Pouliot beats Martin to the rebound and sweeps in the rebound by Fleury's blocker on the near side. The Rangers have used the end boards quite a bit tonight. Girardi and Richards each get assists. Rangers 3-2.
9:47: Stralman rips a wrister from the right point. Fleury snags it.
8:32: Sutter chucks a wrister from above the right circle. Lundqvist kicks it away.
6:34: Malking tries to dance around Girdardi down the slot but is held off by a nice defensive play by Girardi.
6:03: A wrister by John Moore from the right wing is kicked out by Fleury.
4:53: A wrister by Martin from the center point is blocked.
4:31: Jokinen tries to force a pass from the right half wall but McDonagh breaks it up.
3:32: Niskanen corrals a puck at the right point and chops a one-timer. Zuccarello leans in with a stick-on-puck and the puck sails out of play.
2:56: James Neal to the rescue. Maatta pushes the puck deep on the right wing and is pinned to the boards by a Rangers player. Maatta is able to wiggle free just enough and taps a puck to the slot. Neal sneaks in off the left wing and snaps off a wrister by the blocker of Lundqvist to tie the game late. What an effort by Maatta. Maatta and Megna get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 3, Rangers 3.
1:55: Jokinen dekes by McDonagh in the right circle and fires a wrister which is blocked and hops in on et. Lundqvist smothers the puck.
1:36: Battling for a puck behidn the Penguins' net, Bortuzzo dumps Brassard hard.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Rangers 3.
-The Rangers have a 40-29 lead in shots on net.
4:01: Off a feed from Kunitz, Crosby whacks a one-timer from the high slot wide of the cage.
3:14: Richards chases down
3:05: Sutter pokes a puck by Klein on the left wing and races up the boards. He lifts a wrister to the far side on Lundqvist's glove hand but misses the cage.
2:44: Malkin cranks a slapper from the center point. It gets deflected WAAAYYY out of play and the puck is caught by a fan in the upper balcony.
2:18: A wrister by Neal from the left wing is blockd.
2:12: Nash hustles up the right wing and has a wrister blocked out of play on a stick-on-puck by Martin.
2:05: Zuccarello flings a wrister from the right half wall. Fleury snags it.
1:06: Bortuzzo races up the ice into the Rangers' zone and is bowled over by Stralman in the slot.
0:31: Malkin snaps off a shot/pass from the right circle wide of the cage.
0:22: Malkin tries to cut in from the Rangers' right corner but is tripped up by Stralman. No call.
0:06: A wrister by Orpik from the right point is wide of the cage.
0:00: End of period. Malkin tripped up Callaghan at the horn and a penalty was called but he obviously won't have to serve it.
The Rangers lead in shots, 41-29.
-Jokinen is up first. Taking a larg e run at the puck, Jokinen veers to the right, levels out and releases a wrister off the left post.
-Pouliot goes for the Rangers. He goes right down the slot and has the puck knocked away by a poke check from Fleury.
-Crosby veers a little to the right, levels out and lifts a wrister. Lundqvist makes the easy save.
-Zuccarello weaves his way dow the slot, gets Fleury to open up a bit and tucks a backhander through the five hole. Rangers 1-0.
-Malkin must score to keep this going. He veers to the right, levels out and tucks a nifty forehand shot through Lundqvist's five hole. Penguins 1, Rangers 1.
-Richards can win this. Racing right down the slot, he attacks the net and lifts a forehand shot which blows by Fleury's blocker and into the cage. End of shootout. Rangers 2, Penguins 1. End of game, Rangers 4, Penguins 3.
-This game turned into a special teams battle. There were 30 minutes of penalties doled out, all minors, and each team had four power plays. The officials called this game really tight.
-We're not sure if that helped or hurt the Penguins. They cashed in with two power-play goals but allowed two to the Rangers. Additionally, the Penguins had a power play wiped out by a double minor to Kunitz for roughing in the second period.
-The Penguins did a pretty rotten job of defending around their cage. All three of the Ranger's goals were scored with bodies in front or near Marc-Andre Fleury. The first and second goals were hustle plays by Benoit Pouliot off rebounds. The second goal by Dan Girardi was a result of a brilliant screen by Pouliot. The Penguins gave the Rangers far too much freedom around the blue paint.
-Olli Maatta was the brightest part of this game for the Penguins. His awareness to punch in a goal from the backdoor on a rebound for the Penguins' first goal looked like a play a 10-year veteran would make. His play to wiggle free from a check from the corner looked like something an Art Ross Trophy winner would make.
-There aren't many teams which can go toe-to-toe in the Penguins shootouts. The Rangers are one of them. This win pushed them into a tie with the Penguins for most shootout wins in NHL history with 58. The Rangers have a lot of skilled players who excel at this area of the game. Henrik Lundqvist is one of the best in the sport at shootuts and penalty shots. Additionally, the Rangers have a bundle of skilled players who are sharp in the shootout. Mats Zuccarello and Brad Richards have a variety of moves at their disposal. Richards is now tied for the 10th most shootout goals in NHL history with 29.
-Benoit Pouliot has been something of a terror to the Penguins this season. In four games this season, he had four points (two goals, two assists).
-The Rangers came out with a pretty determined and focused effort. They had plenty of motivation after last night's poor loss to the Oilers. On the other hand, the Penguins may have been distracted at times by the upcoming Olympic break.
-This is a game where a bigger contribution by Brandon Sutter would be nice. The Rangers did a fairly nice job of bottling up Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Presumably, that created a few more ideal matchups for Sutter. He didn't really do much to take advantage of those chances.
-The Rangers led in shots on net, 41-29.
-The Rangers led in attempted shots, 68-55.
-Crosby and Carl Hagelin each led the game with six shots.
-Dan Girardi led the game with 27:26 of ice time.
-Crosby led the Penguins with 24:31.
-Faceoffs were even, 34-34 (50 percent).
-Crosby was 19 for 34 (59 percent).
-Richards was 12 for 20 (60 percent).
-Girardi led the game with five blocked shots.
-Paul Martin led the Rangers with two blocked shots.
-Maatta now has six goals, tied for second most by a rookie defenseman in franchise history. He is tied with Alex Goligoski (2008-09), Kris Letang (2007-08) and Norm Schmidt (1983-84). Zarley Zalapski (1988-89) holds the franchise record with 12.
-Jussi Jokinen has 19 points in his past 19 games.
-Neal moved past Tyler Kennedy, Moe Mantha, Jr. and Doug Bodger for 48th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list. Neal, Kennedy and Mantha each have 168 points but Neal (82) has more goals than Kennedy (76) and Mantha (37). Bodger has 167 points.