Critical penalty kill swings momentum in favor of Penguins
At the moment New York Rangers defenseman Neal Pionk reached up near his eye and saw blood on his fingers, it was clear the game was on the line.
Pionk had been injured by an accidental high stick from Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in the waning seconds of the second period, drawing a double minor. The score was tied 3-3.
By the time the first four minutes of the third period elapsed, momentum was going to swing violently in favor of one team or the other.
It swung in favor of the Penguins, who killed the penalty and went on to a 6-5 victory Sunday afternoon.
“Anytime you kill off four minutes, especially in the third period, it’s huge,” defenseman Brian Dumoulin said.
The Rangers attempted seven shots on the power play. One went wide, three were stopped by goalie Casey DeSmith and three were blocked – two by Kris Letang and one by Chad Ruhwedel. Matt Cullen went 3-0 in the faceoff circle.
The Penguins scored three times in the next seven minutes to take over the game.
“The guys took away all the seams,” DeSmith said. “They really like hitting those cross-ice seams, and I think the guys did a great job taking that away. Blocked a couple shots and made some good clears, for sure.”
After the game, Rangers coach David Quinn said Pionk’s injury is not believed to be serious.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .