Rangers go down 3-2 OT at Penguins to Kris Letang’s power-play goal
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kris Letang knows that the Pittsburgh Penguins have the oldest team in the NHL. The 35-year-old defender is one of the reasons why.
The Penguins have never missed the playoffs in Letang’s 17-year career. They know what it takes to get there, although this time it may have taken a little longer than usual for the postseason kick-off to begin.
It’s in full swing now, and Letang is right in the middle of it.
Letang’s shot from 1:38 into overtime helped Pittsburgh to a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday and solidified his team’s position as the first wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.
Not bad for a team that looked lost after being blown out at home by Edmonton on Feb. 23. The Penguins have been 7-1-1 ever since.
“I think if you look at our average age, a lot of guys have the experience and know what to do to turn it on and make sure we get into the postseason and we start to get confident,” Letang said after his third Victory in overtime. “Everyone has a role and they have to fulfill it as best they can and I think we’re doing that right now.”
Jason Sugar scored for the ninth time in eight games for Pittsburgh and Rickard Rackel added his 23rd. Tristan Jarry made 27 saves as the Penguins improved to 3-0-1 in a five-game homestand.
“I think we’re just playing more of a team game and coming (forward Michael Granlund and defender Dmitry Kulikov at the close) really spurred our team on and showed us and the organization that we want to win,” said Jarry. “We try to win every game and every night we try to get two more points.”
Barclay Goodrow scored his 11th goal of the season for New York and Chris Kreider‘s goal in the middle of the third period equalized. Yaroslav Halak made 32 saves for the Rangers, including a glove save Alex Nylander to obliterate a 2v1 break with less than a minute left in regulation.
New York is 4-5-2 in their last 11 games, falling slightly behind Carolina and New Jersey in the Metropolitan Division title race.
“We didn’t play well, we’ll admit that, but we still win hockey games,” said the Rangers coach Gerald Galant called. “Tonight we got another point against a really good team over there. we fight hard We have to get better. We know that. I think everyone in this room knows that.”
The NHL’s oldest team looked decidedly fresh despite playing their third game in less than 72 hours. A day after dominating hapless Philadelphia, the Penguins dictated the pace for much of the first two periods against the Rangers, who played their third game in four days away.
Teams even traded goals in the first half as the Penguins carried the game. Zucker’s 24th goal and fourth in his last four games – a long shot from a point that went wide before being diverted by New York’s skate Mika Zibanejad – early in the second, Rangers seemed to be waking up.
The intensity increased immediately. Rangers defender Jacob Trouba hit Nylander with a shoulder to the chest at near full speed. The clash further revived memories of a Trouba hit Sydney Crosby During last year’s playoffs, which forced the Penguins star to miss two games in a row with a concussion, Pittsburgh would lose in Game 7 overtime.
The strike and after seemed to give Rangers a welcome jolt and New York came alive, especially in the third period.
Rangers tilted the ice heavily in their favor with the final 20 minutes, and Kreider leveled the game at the end of a sequence that began with New York Vincent Trocheck He hit Malkin in the back in the Rangers zone, leading to a transition that ended with Kreider all alone in the slot, giving him plenty of room to tie it.
The sometimes crisp game could set the table for an interesting week. The penguins will visit Madison Square Garden twice in the next six days.
“There’s still a lot of hockey to play and we need the points more than they do,” Jarry said. “So I think we were just a little bit more desperate tonight and hopefully that holds up throughout the week.”
Rangers: host Washington on Tuesday night.
Penguins: Complete their home game against Montreal on Tuesday.
https://sports.yahoo.com/rangers-fall-penguins-3-2-003229598.html?src=rss Rangers go down 3-2 OT at Penguins to Kris Letang’s power-play goal