Penguins Dominate Late to Beat Rangers
The New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins do not like each other very much. Following a hard fought playoff series last season, the teams have engaged in a slew of physical games this season that have seen multiple fights and star players go down with injuries.
The tension between the two teams led to that greatest of hockey traditions: the opening face off fight. Both teams sent out their checking lines to start the game and before the puck was dropped to start the first period action, everyone knew what was going to happen.
It took a total of two seconds for Rangers player Colton Orr (6'3" 228 lbs) and Penguins player Eric Godard (6'4" 214 lbs) to tie up and began launching punches. Ultimately the fight – their third fight in a month – ended up with Godard dropping Orr.
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Just two minutes later the Rangers jumped to a 1-0 lead. Brandon Dubinsky dished a nice pass to Nikolai Zherdev who put home a well placed wrist shot. Zherdev, who leads the team with 28 assists, broke his goalless streak that stretches back over a month to December 20 th.
Keeping with the fast pace of the game, it was just several minutes more until the Penguins tied the tally at one a piece. Petr Sykora knocked a puck out of the air (and off the shoulder off Chris Drury) his 18 th goal of the season.
The second period was marked by great goaltending and back and forth action. In the third period, the Penguins took a 2-1 lead on a Jordan Staal goal. Staal was behind the net but managed to bank in his shot off of Lundqvist's pads and into the net. Moments later, the Penguins gained a 3-1 advantage on Kris Letang's 2 nd goal of the season, a wide open wrist shot from the face off circle. On a five on three power play midway through the third period, Sykora got his second goal of the game as the Penguins cushioned their lead to 4-1.
Young defenseman Marc Staal wouldn't let his brother be the only active participant in the game. On a well timed pass from Scott Gomez, Staal pulled the Rangers a bit closer, making it a 4-2 game. However, as the Penguins managed to do all night, they found an immediate answer for a Rangers success. Letang, who hadn't scored in 50 games prior to this evening, took the puck all the way up the ice by himself and got a top shelf goal for his 2 nd of the night and a 5-2 Penguins lead.
Finally Crosby finished the scoring, with the Penguins' sixth goal of the night. It marks the most goals the Rangers have given up all season.The game was the second game in two nights for the Rangers, and it showed as they got dominated in the third period of play against the fresh Penguins, who hadn't played since the All-Star break. It also marked a continuing tradition between the two clubs –besides fighting between Orr and Godard – the home team always wins.
It was only the second time in seven games that the Rangers have lost, however it's another disappointing setback in a game in which they had an early advantage.
ProHockey-fans.com NY Rangers Correspondent
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