New York Rangers third period rally falls short in loss to Penguins

Feb 14, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) reacts after being hit in the mouth by a puck in the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers played one of their better third periods of the season. However, it was not enough to overcome a two-goal deficit and the Blueshirts fall to the Pittsburgh Penguins by the score of 4-2.

The Rangers pulled goaltender Keith Kinkaid with just about two minutes left in the game. They had multiple chances to score the tying goal but were thwarted by Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry.

Ryan Strome scored early in the third period. The Rangers held the Penguins to no shots on goal until Sidney Crosby put a shot in the empty net with 32 seconds left in the game.

Former Penguin Jack Johnson opened the scoring for the Rangers with a deflected slap shot in the first period, his first goal as a Ranger. Chris Kreider and Julien Gauthier assisted on Johnson’s goal. Gauthier has now recorded three assists/points in the last three games and four assists/points in the last seven games. Following his assist on Jack Johnson’s goal, Kreider has now tallied 12 points in the last nine games. Since Feb. 24, Kreider’s eight goals are the most in the NHL and his 11 points are the third-most in the NHL, per NYR Stats&Info.

The Rangers also continue their trend of close games. Entering tonight’s action, 14 of the Rangers’ 23 games this season have been decided by two or fewer goals. Eleven of those games have been decided by one goal.

The New York Rangers are agitated by a close loss to the Penguins

Kreider was obviously not feeling too good about the loss in his post-game Zoom interview. “We put ourselves in that hole because of the two late goals. For 56 or 57 minutes we were doing a good job playing through and establishing a forecheck which we weren’t able to do the other night. We were playing good structured hockey then we start chasing our tails a little bit at the end of the second period.”

“There are lessons to be learned win or lose,” Kreider stated about whether there was anything good that came from this loss. We played this team four or five times, they have come from behind to beat us, they have beat us in close games. They punched us in the mouth the other night so in the end, we have to find a way to get those two points.”

Head coach David Quinn echoed many of those sentiments in his post-game Zoom conference. “I thought it was a tale of two games. I thought that for the first thirty minutes they completely took it to us and then I thought we started doing the things we needed to do.” Quinn said later in his conference that “We need to get back to playing sixty minutes of good hockey, and not sporadic good hockey.”

The road trip for the Rangers does not get any easier as they travel to Boston for back-to-back games with the Bruins. Thursday night’s contest is scheduled for 7 p.m.