Rangers vs. Penguins: Rangers dominate Penguins 8-4 at MSG

The New York Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in dominant fashion tonight when they put eight goals on the board en route to an 8-4 victory. Eight different Rangers scored in the game, including goals from Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko. Igor Shesterkin posted a 41-save performance tonight, but got a lot of help from his offense tonight when they fired up the Penguins on the other end of the ice.

1st period

Colin Blackwell (10) – Artemiy Panarin (26) and Jacob Trouba (8) – 1:35

After a two-day break, the Rangers flew out early in the first period and we were rewarded with an early goal. Colin Blackwell, who was back in the top six for tonight’s contest, was able to split two defenders after entering the offensive zone. Blackwell’s pass attempt ended up deflecting off Mike Matheson’s skate and sliding under Tristian Jarry to make it a 1-0 game.

Mika Zibanejad (13) – Pavel Buchnevich (19) – 7:28

Just under six minutes after opening the scoring, the Rangers were able to double their lead thanks to Mika Zibanejad. Pavel Buchnevich created the entire sequence by beating Sidney Crosby in a 1v1 opportunity at the blue line, and drove the puck to the front of the net. Mika Zibanejad followed the play looking for a rebound, and Tristian Jarry gave him just that by kicking the puck into the high slot. Zibanejad was able to control the loose puck and hit the goalkeeper in the legs to give New York a quick 2-0 lead.

Artemiy Panarin (12) – Adam Fox (30) and Chris Kreider (9) PPG – 9:58

Despite already holding a two-goal lead, the Rangers continue to roll as they seized their first power play opportunity of the night. With less than a minute of men’s advantage, the Rangers were able to get the puck into scoring position and capitalized. Adam Fox picked up the primary assist after he found Artemiy Panarin in the left side serve circle and extended his scoring streak to 11 games. Panarin finished off the pass with an absolute sniper and smoked the puck past Tristian Jarry’s right shoulder.

Jared McCann (10) – Kris Letang (23) and Sidney Crosby (29) PPG – 10:38

Pittsburgh finally stopped the bleeding just after the middle of the first period when Jared McCann scored his 10th goal of the season. The goal came within six seconds of the power play opportunity when McCann’s shot somehow found its way through the traffic up front. Igor Shesterkin never saw the puck, as it remained on the ice the entire time, and the Penguins reduced the Rangers’ lead to 3-1.

Ryan Strome (12) – Artemiy Panarin (27) and Adam Fox (31) PPG – 19:42

The Rangers had another power play opportunity late in the period, capitalizing once again to restore their three-goal lead. The first power play unit continued to move the puck well and, in turn, kept the penguins constantly moving in their own zone. Artemiy Panarin was able to open up a scoring opportunity by doing a cross feed on Ryan Strome in the opposite facing circle. Strome chose a quick shot with Chris Kreider projecting at the top of the crease, and the shot passed Tristian Jarry.

2nd period

Alexis Lafrenière (6) – Filip Chytil (5) and Kaapo Kakko (3) – 12:20

The Rangers kid line of Alexis Lafrenière, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko got plenty of playing time during the second period, eventually making it onto the scoreboard. Kaapo Kakko started the play with a strong check below the goal line and passed the puck to Filip Chytil for a quick shot. Alexis Lafrenière was able to jump on the loose puck, sidestep around the goalkeeper and poke the puck as he stretched from behind the net. Two penguins ended up putting the puck into their own net while trying to punt, and New York took a dominant 5-1 lead in this game.

Mike Matheson (4) – Colton Sceviour (3) and Mark Jankowski (5) – 12:35

In the immediate aftermath of the ensuing showdown, Pittsburgh was able to march back onto the ice and make up for its mistakes just 15 seconds earlier. Mike Matheson was able to get the puck into the offensive zone and fired a powerful shot at Igor Shesterkin. The puck appeared to drift slightly off Jacob Trouba’s stick as he entered the goal and hit Shesterkin on the side of the glove.

3rd period

Kaapo Kakko (6) – Jacob Trouba (9) and Colin Blackwell (5) PPG – 6:10

Six minutes into the third period, the Rangers got to work on their third power play opportunity and converted once more. The second unit entered the ice with less than a minute remaining for the men’s lead and scored almost immediately. Jacob Trouba’s point shot ended up doubly deflecting a defender and Kaapo Kakko’s stick up front before crossing the goal line.

Jake Guentzel (17) – Mike Matheson (7) and Kris Letang (24) – 8:03

Just under two minutes later, the Penguins responded once again with Jake Guentzel’s 17th goal of the season. The Rangers were stuck in an extended turn after Pittsburgh pinned them in their own zone and they spread too far to the left side of the ice. Jake Guentzel was able to slide into an open space above the marks and buried Mike Matheson’s light pass.

Adam Fox (5) – Mika Zibanejad (17) and Ryan Strome (24) SHG – 10:22

Although the Rangers improved their coverage in the defensive zone, the offense continued to advance as they scored their seventh goal of the night. Mika Zibanejad was able to chase Mike Matheson on penalty and made a great play to remove the puck cleanly. After fighting the check, Zibanejad found Adam Fox cutting through the spot and Fox ripped a puck under the bar to make it a 7-3 game.

Pavel Buchnevich (15) – Filip Chytil (6) and Artemiy Panarin (28) – 10:41

Pavel Buchnevich felt a bit left out after failing to register a goal, and finally got his chance just 19 seconds after Adam Fox’s count. Both Artemiy Panarin and Filip Chytil made excellent passes to disperse the penguins entering the zone. Buchnevich was able to slide cover by driving to the front of the net, and Filip Chytil found him with a clean pass from the other side of the ice. Buchnevich was able to hit the puck under Casey DeSmith as he collapsed and the Rangers jumped to an 8-3 lead.

Brian Dumoulin (1) – Radim Zohorna (1) and Mark Jankowski (6) – 18:36

With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the Penguins were able to add a final score on the board when Brian Dumoulin scored his first goal of the year. Radim Zohorna ended up getting knocked down by Pavel Buchnevich on the blue line, but kept the puck to keep the play alive. Zohorna found Brian Dumoulin cutting into the net on the other side and scored the fourth goal for Pittsburgh.

The Rangers’ offense was on another level tonight once again, and they were able to outscore the Penguins by a wide margin. New York received some contributions from the children, as Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafrenière added goals, which should give them some confidence to move on. Igor Shesterkin was phenomenal once again and had a 41-save effort despite being overshadowed by the offensive blast.

After tonight’s dominant performance on home ice, the Rangers will get a quick one-day break before doing it all again Thursday night.

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