The last time these two teams met in Pittsburgh, the Rangers were run out of the building in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After the first period, it would’ve been totally justified to suggest last night would have been a repeat of that. Turns out ice hockey games have 40 more minutes than that.
Turns out, it only takes 40 minutes to bring back haunting memories of 2015 when all anyone should be talking about is Jake Guentzel.
But here we are. Two more dropped points to divisional rivals. The Penguins are fine, but games like this cannot be the norm later in the season.
Let’s talk about Jake Guentzel.
There are few things more ideal than a team scoring on its first shot of the game. One of those things on the list includes scoring on your first shot in the NHL, but, more specifically, scoring on your first shift in the NHL. Jake Guentzel, who was called up to replace the IRed Chris Kunitz, did exactly that.
It wasn’t flashy. But, boy, was it sleek. Daley made a nice play in the neutral zone as the Rags tried to clean up their zone. He got it to Phil, who hit Guentzel streaking through the neutral zone with more speed than an Adderall prescription. Holden thought he had a good angle on Guentzel, but nope. 1-0 Pens
Guentzel’s brother with the tutorial on how to lose your damn mind. What a moment.
Somehow, that wasn’t enough. With a little over 7 minutes left, the kid would show up again. This time, Cole and Schultz did enough to clear the zone and Phillip took off up the right wing. Malkin drove the middle and got a stick on the area pass. Raantta made the tough save, but JG59 showed up johnny on the spot for his 2nd. 2-0 Guentzel
Best Labett of his old man’s life. That girl just appeared out of nowhere though. He’s already introducing her to his mom and everything. Might be meant to be. Pens were cruising.
He ended up with a 3rd chance on a 3v2 with Letang and Crosby that he just missed on. There was some other shit that happened (4 minutes of 4 on 4 hockey, 12 Fleury saves, Crosby being Crosby), but you won’t remember any of it because Jake Guentzel stole the show.
Coming into this game, there were already moderate-to-high expectations for the kid after the preseason he had. Surely, two goals in his first NHL period didn’t do anything to temper those. When he goes the next 6 games without scoring, he’ll probably be painted as a villain in this town, but I digress.
Just over 4 minutes into the period, Malkin forced a turnover in the offensive zone and found Guentzel all alone in front. Klein put him under just enough pressure that he wasn’t able to line up a shot and had his hatty denied.
As of course is tradition, it meant the Rangers would score within seconds. They did when Dick Rash showed up. Much like a regular dick rash, it won’t stop you from going to the dirty areas.
And that’s what Nash did. On a dump in, Cole made a mess of it and got out-worked by Nash along the wall. He tried to force a pass across the crease to Stepan. Fleury read it and pushed to make the save, but Nash’s pass got broken up by a sprawling Schultz, then pushed back to Rash to jam it top shelf before MAF could get back across. 2-1 Guentzel
Both teams traded powerplays. Both goalies traded big saves, including Fleury making an audacious pad save on Vesey and the post making a yuge save on Crosby. But as much as the up and down action made it feel like it wasn’t a typical Rangers game, well…
Pens made a mess of clearing the puck. Dropped their coverages completely and let Grabner roof his 12th (!!!!) of the year. 2-2
Towards the end of the period, some dude named Brady took an interference penalty. As much as you wanted to believe the Penguins would take the game back, well…
Bad forced pass by 87 down at one end. Rangers took it the other way and scored a shitty, lucky goal. That doesn’t all sound like 2015, does it? 3-2 Rangers
Rope-a-dope Rangers got the lead and appeared early in the 3rd once the Penguins had to chase the game, but then it opened back up. Still, Pens failed to register a shot until the 9:33 mark of the period. One way to not win games is to not get shots on the net. Another way to not win games is to give up goals. WARNING: THE FOLLOWING GIF IS NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 12. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
Dumoulin should have to walk around town wearing this gif around his neck. Shameful.
You know when you catch your dog eating its own shit? You yell at it to stop, but the damage is already done. Your dog will inevitably try to lick your face because, despite dogs being the best, they’re also total dicks. Then, when you’re not looking, it shits out its own shit in the corner of your living room. You’ll probably not notice and step in it barefoot because that’s the kind of day you had that day. Well, that’s exactly what Dumoulin’s pass was. 4-2 Rangers.
Rangers would add an empty netter before the end of it. Ball game.
- Probably Jake Guentzel’s fault for getting everyone’s hopes up in the first.
- No but really, what a way to start your career, even if it did end in a loss.
- Thought Fleury had a pretty decent game. Some unlucky bounces, some v bad d-zone breakdowns in front of him. Not a whole lot he could have done on any of the 4 goals against.
- Michael Grabner somehow has 12 goals. Don’t tell me PDO isn’t a thing.
- Raanta is gonna be good for them when Lundqvist gets traded to Dallas.
- Rangers move to 4-0 on the second of back to backs this season.
Pens get a chance to redeem themselves immediately as they travel to MSG Wednesday night. Even if it ends up like this, at least it’s the biggest drinking night of the year.