Rangers suffer crushing triple overtime loss to Penguins in Game 1

2022-06-15 13:48:39 By : Mr. willson hu

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The Rangers team that showed up in the first period Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden could’ve run away with Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But they didn’t stay on the ice for long enough. Not nearly long enough.

After they dominated the Penguins at every crevice of the ice through the opening 25 minutes, the Rangers suddenly relinquished any hold they had on the pace of the game and blew a two-goal lead that allowed the Penguins to ultimately force overtime three times over before Evgeni Malkin secured a 4-3 victory and a 1-0 series lead.

“I think we learned a lesson a little bit in the second period,” said Ryan Strome, who set up Andrew Copp for the one-timer in the slot for the two-goal lead. “When you’re up 2-0, you like to think that you can shut them down a little more, but they clawed back in so. It’s tough to remember the second period, it feels like so long ago, but I thought we battled hard. We did a lot of good things.

“Obviously, in triple overtime, anything can happen. They got the first one, but I think we’re pretty confident going into Game 2.”

It was all Pittsburgh after the Rangers’ second goal just over three minutes into the middle frame. The Rangers lost the jump they had in the first period and found themselves chasing the game. Penguins star Sidney Crosby played a big part in the drastic shift, as one would expect.

The Rangers appeared to have scored the game-winning goal with just over three minutes in regulation, but the goal was disallowed for goaltending interference.

Kaapo Kakko had just willed himself to the Penguins net and made significant contact with goaltender Casey DeSmith with help from Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin, before backhanding a pass while he was falling to Filip Chytil for the wide-open goal that would’ve broken a 3-3 tie.

In the first period, the Rangers were in a high gear that was impossible to contain, hitting every Penguin in sight and putting forth a relentless forecheck that left the visitors with no choice but to dump and chase. But the Rangers lost their assertiveness, and that’s where they truly lost the game.

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“We couldn’t play 60 minutes like that, I’d love to say we could,” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “The forecheck was great, we had a great opening 25 minutes. Pittsburgh’s a proud team and they’re going to come back and they played harder. I loved our start and then I think after we made it 2-0, they started to play a lot better and they took it to us a little bit. It was one of those games, back and forth, lots of shots. Nobody’s fault, everybody played hard.”

Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin, who finished with a franchise-record 79 saves in his first legitimate playoff game, got over in time to rob Kris Letang shortly after Copp’s goal. But the Penguins worked the puck around again and Jake Guentzel buried an easy tap-in all alone in front to cut the Rangers’ lead 2-1.

Crosby then sent an effortless backhanded leading pass for Guentzel, who knotted the game at two-all with his second of the night at 8:13 of the middle frame.

The Rangers struggled to maintain puck possession, and it showed in the back-to-back penalties they took. With Patrik Nemeth in box for his second penalty of the game, however, Mika Zibanejad pushed the puck up the ice before dishing to Chris Kreider for a gorgeous shorthanded goal that he finished on his backhand to make it a 3-2 game at 17:07.

When Jacob Trouba was called for boarding Guentzel roughly 40 seconds later, the Penguins earned a five-on-three advantage for 44 seconds. A tic-tac-toe passing sequence from Pittsburgh led to Bryan Rust evening the score once again with 1:30 left in the second period.

The Rangers will feel this one in their legs for a bit, but they’ll have to get them back under them in time for Game 2 on Thursday.

“Take a look at the things we did well, tighten up a couple things,” said Zibanejad, who had two assists in the loss. “We believe in each other in there, we trust each other in there. We’re here for a reason and we played a certain way. I think we talked about it all year, just keep playing our way and that’s something we have to do for 60 minutes.”