Despite outplaying the Penguins for most of the game, the Rangers dropped their road opener in a shoot out 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. With a 3-1 Rangers lead in the second period, Pittsburgh scored the final two goals of the game and outlasted the Rangers 2-1 in the shoot out. Here are the highlights from last night.
The Rangers had plenty of chances to win the game in regulation but couldn’t convert on a fourth goal. Here are some thoughts from Chris Kreider who had a few scoring opportunities in the third period get turned away.
Kreider: “We certainly got a lot of good looks, had a lot of Grade A chances. It’s hard not coming away with both points, but I think we played, for the most part, a pretty stingy road game.” pic.twitter.com/1NKQGiHiot— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 23, 2021
This was a tough loss for the Rangers. In a shortened season, these are the games you need to get two points out of. The Rangers scored three unanswered goals to start the the second period all in the first six minutes of the period. The Penguins scored late in the second period after an unfortunate play in the crease by Ryan Lindgren. Lindgren blocked a shot in the crease and to avoid a penalty of holding the puck he tried to pass it back to Shesterkin but it ended up alluding Igor and snuck into the net.
Can he score it? Yes, he McCann. pic.twitter.com/IR8SO3R9yM— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 23, 2021
Midway through the third period the Penguins tied it up on another unlucky play. The Penguins got a lucky bounce off the boards and it came right to Teddy Blueger’s stick for the tying goal.
You my boy, Blue(ger)! Tie game!— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 23, 2021
And a big congratulations to P.O Joseph on his first NHL point! pic.twitter.com/xjgR6zyWEh
The Penguins got shoot out goals from Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang. Artemi Panarin was the only Rangers play to convert his opportunity and Pittsburgh won the shoot out 2-1. Let’s breakdown the good and bad things we saw last night.
Phil Di Giuseppe/Filip Chytil/Kaapo Kakko Line
They were the best Rangers night all night. Phil Di Giuseppe and Filip Chytil were the Rangers best players last night. Chytil started the Rangers three goal second period outburst with an excellent stick handling goal, faking Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry right out of his pads. The goal was set up by a great fore-checking turnover created by Di Giuseppe.
Oh Fil. 😍 pic.twitter.com/29AQUsTqyK— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 23, 2021
The line wasn’t done yet with scoring. Three minutes later Kakko scored his second goal of the season, extending the Rangers lead to 3-1 in the second period. Di Giuseppe once again set up the goal and K’Andre Miller also assisted on the goal. His first NHL point.
This line is buz 👏 zing 👏 pic.twitter.com/HTbJrt16B8— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 23, 2021
K’Andre played his best game yet as a pro. He saw big minutes last night, finishing third in ice time for defenseman with 21:17 minutes logged. He saw crunch time minutes as well. Playing the final 45 seconds of the game and also getting a three-on-three overtime shift. K’Andre looks more and more comfortable every shift he takes the ice. Telling from his crunch time minutes he has played himself into Coach Quinn’s top four.
I think I can just permanently leave him here on in the good column. Fox again played an outstanding game in both the offensive and defensive zone. Fox led the team in ice time last night by a wide margin clocking in at 26:02. He scored his first goal of the season on the power play. Since he has taken over as the quarterback of the power play the Rangers have scored in all three games. Fox has a three game point streak going now and has a goal and three assists during that streak.
4 games. 4 points. 1 Fox. pic.twitter.com/B5BnUA9zJk— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 23, 2021
Similar to Fox consistently being penciled into the good column, we can do the same for Johnson in the bad. After being bought out by the Penguins in the offseason, his redemption tour against them is off to a slow start. Johnson again looked slow and lethargic on the ice last night. Finishing the game with a negative plus-minus rating. Johnson played a defensive unit ice time low of just 14:35. I really don’t understand why the coaching staff continues to roll him out there. Brendan Smith outplayed him by a wide margin in his two games this year. Johnson is still pointless on the year and after last night has a -4 plus minus rating. We will see what the Rangers decide for their line up Sunday night but I think a change is needed.
I hate to put the 19 year old in the bad column with him still settling into NHL play but he did not look good last night. He had a couple good scoring opportunities where he decided to try and make an extra pass instead of taking a shot on goal. He was promoted to the top line prior to the game and I just thought we would see more out of him last night. It looked like Coach Quinn agreed with that thought as well with him not seeing a shift during overtime. I hope they keep him up with the top line next game to give him more opportunities but he needs to look for his shot more.
The Rangers and Penguins have the day off today then play again Sunday night. After the last two losses, Coach Quinn has shuffled lines so will see if he does that again. The Rangers played well but just couldn’t secure the two points.