RECAP: Game 36. Pens beat Rangers 4-3.

The narrative for the first 45 minutes: 

You simply had to be in a completely different mind-set to find a game like that entertaining. If you went in with the sole intention of analyzing the play of all of the Pens’ young money, then this game was for you. If you wanted an entertaining hockey game in general, it didn’t fit the bill.

The narrative for the last 20 minutes:

Hockey is just strange like that. The Penguins were cruising. The young money D was excelling. Then boom. 3-3.
Game flipped into a wildly entertaining affair just like that.
And despite the Penguins wilting a bit late, they still got two more points. But, really, this isn't so much about the Penguins as it’s about how bad the Rangers are. What a mess. They look like a team with no clue what their identity is. Brad Richards may be the softest player in the NHL. 
Pens back home tonight against the Wild. 
Zatkoff getting the call?


Looked like NBCSN held a meeting this week that was all about starting to push the Olympics as much as possible. We are irrationally excited about the bobsled trials, though.
The Rags had the first chance of the game, but Nash hit the pipe. Pens were a step slow at the outset.
Hard to set the play up now, but Zach Sill backchecked and saved a goal a split-second before he was gonna go off for a line change. Big play. When Crosby replaced Sill later in the play, the Pens stepped it up at the other end. A couple of chances, but the King was up to the task.
The villain Dominic Moore made an appearance late in the period. Fleury had to make a few saves.
The biggest takeaway was how good the Penguins’ young D was playing.
And if you think about it, the guys aren't just jobber rookies. They have pedigree. Samuelsson and Dumoulin are from a national championship team and would have been in the NHL earlier if they weren’t in the log-jammed Pens’ organization. Despres and Maatta are first-round pick. And if you don’t like what you’re seeing from Robert Bortuzzo, there’s just something wrong with you. The D was able to endure the first period and was no worse for wear.


Chris Conner made a brief appearance and drew a penalty while going to the net. Pens jumped onto the power play. They had a couple looks, but nothing happened.
MAF had to make some stops after that, and then the Rangers got a PP. Some questionable decisions made by both teams during those two minutes, but no goals were scored.
Dumoulin sprung Crosby on a breakaway.

Will Crosby score on a


But hold the phone. He got tripped up. It looked like penalty-shot material, but the stripes said no. Crosby's thoughts:
Didn’t matter because the Pens connected on the PP. Basically it was Chris Kunitz whacking it until it went in. And, no, she didn’t say that. 1-0.
Such a subtle pass by Jokinen.
Harry Z got two minutes for a snow-throw, and MDZ went off for cross-checking him in the back of the head. Same thing. Then Emrick made his obligatory Pirates reference when showing Maatta trying to swat a puck out of the air.
Thing were going a little too well. And just like that, Carl Hagelin caught Simon Despres flat-footed. That race was over before it started. He closed in on MAF and tied it up. 1-1.


So you'd think the Rangers would come out flying after getting the tying goal and pull away. Nope. In fact, the opposite happened. Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis struck. 
Chris Kunitz dug a puck out and found Crosby. Crosby, with one hand on his stick, flicked it to Dupuis. The Artist Formerly Known As Dupuis didn't miss this one.
2-1. Huge goal.
The next one would be even bigger.
About one minute later, Brandon Sutter had the puck and was one-on-one vs. MDZ. MDZ got undressed like that one time in Vegas.

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What a move. King Henrik was sick.


Felt like the game was over. It wasn't. 
What really hurts about having all these injuries is players like Harry Z getting playing time. He almost got sucked into a bad penalty. No clue what he was doing.
The Penguins’ defense is young, and you could tell it was making some mistakes. They didn’t have to pay for any of them all night, but all of a sudden, things got bad.
The Rangers scored with about 8 minutes to go. Didn't help they kind of cheated. After Chris Conner beat out an icing, the Rangers got the puck, stormed up ice, and scored. 3-2.
But upon closer inspection, the Rangers got a break. Look at the interference on the rush:
This sprung the Rangers on the 3-on-2 that led them to the goal.
The next four minutes or so, the Penguins were just hanging on. If you’re hanging on, it means you’re gonna get a penalty. Nisky got called for a high stick, and the Rangers power play went to work.
The Pens killed half of the penalty, but the Rangers got a bounce. As a puck went wide, Fleury was too slow to cover the right post. Derrick Brassard scored a tough-angle goal. Fleury needed to be there. All tied up. 3-3.
Pens escaped with the point as the game slipped into OT.


Right off the bat, Kunitz had a chance to score. And as he was passing the goal, he collided with King Henrik.

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They whistled Kunitz for a penalty.

As Chris Kunitz said, “He was out of his fucking net. Fuck you.” And he was 100% correct. It was a bullshit call sold by the biggest bullshit artist in the game, Henrik Lundqvist.
Here he is getting a neck massage before the shootout. He was really soaking this up for all it was worth.
Then it was time to kill a 4-on-3 in MSG in OT. Hard to imagine the look on all our faces if we were told in training camp that Bortuzzo and Maatta would be the two key defenders in this 4-on-3 kill, but they did the job. Sutter saw some time on the kill, too, basically because he was playing the game of his life. Pens killed it.
A bit later, the Pens lost track of Girardi, and he was all alone in the shot with a chance to end it, but no dice.
Then Crosby had a golden chance. Despres got roughed up in a skirmish. Brandon Sutter was on coke and went after Girardi. Easily the most memorable game of Sutter’s tenure as a Penguin.


The shootout went five innings.
Thought for sure Dominic Moore was gonna score.
But nope. MAF was lights-out the whole way. Sutter made Henrik pay.


– Olli Maatta. 28 minutes. That son of a bitch.
– Possible coming-out party for Sutter.
– Starting to buy into Zach Sill a little bit. The only one of the bottom-6 scrubs that isn't playing cookie-cutter style.