ShareThis Page
Sports

Rangers hold off streaking Penguins for victory

| Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011

NEW YORK — The Penguins believe they are comprised of the parts necessary to navigate the road toward the Stanley Cup.

They just might be built that well, but their driving is awfully bumpy the more distance they put between themselves and Pittsburgh.

A 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night was their fourth defeat in five road games, and this one followed a familiar recipe.

They have allowed multiple power-play goals in four games this season, all on the road.

"Our penalty kill hasn't been very good (on the road), and that's not a good recipe to have," coach Dan Bylsma said. "We gave them up (last night) fairly easily."

Those are words not easily spoken by Bylsma, who like general manager Ray Shero, desires a team that is "tough to play against."

The Rangers scored twice on the power play, both goals coming in a four-marker second period that began with the Penguins possessing the puck for most of three minutes before a holding penalty by winger Pascal Dupuis stymied momentum.

Before the Penguins could blink, their 1-0 lead was a 4-1 deficit, with the Rangers snagging power-play goals from Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik.

Center Evgeni Malkin, with seven seconds left in the second, and Dupuis, about four minutes into the third, pulled the Penguins within a goal, but the damage of that Rangers' second-period surge was the equivalent of a New York City mugging.

"We were dominant enough in the offensive zone," Penguins winger Matt Cooke said. "We need to be committed enough to stay there."

The Penguins held a 16-9 shots advantage before the Rangers finished the second period on a 15-8 run.

This was the first of three consecutive road games for the Penguins (14-7-4, 32 points), and six of their next eight are away from Consol Energy Center. They are 2-5-1 on the road dating to Oct. 29 and just 6-6-2 overall outside of Pittsburgh.

Even the white-hot offensive performances of centers Sidney Crosby and Malkin over the past five games (a combined six goals and 20 points) may not make up for what ails the Penguins when they don their road white jerseys.

This was one of those games, a contest between longtime division rivals each with legitimate Cup aspirations, a matchup that favors neither club and one in which no lead seems safe.

Bylsma was bullish on the Rangers (13-5-3, 29 points) before they won a 10th of 12 games.

"I don't think they should be (considered) lying in the weeds," he said. "They've played very well. They've played some good teams and beat them."

This was the Penguins' first of 10 in 20 games against opponents that began this week in the top eight of either the Eastern or Western Conference. The Rangers were one of 16 teams the Penguins will play during this run whose record was at or above .500.

Scoring summary

FIRST PERIOD

Penguins, 1-0 (17:56 PP): RW James Neal ripped a low shot through some net-front traffic and bested Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist after taking a feed from C Sidney Crosby.

SECOND PERIOD

Rangers, 1-1 (8:01 PP): RW Ryan Callahan worked his way to the left of Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury and from the corner of the blue pain tapped in a pass from Rangers RW Marian Gaborik, who made a nifty move while working toward the slot before dishing the puck.

Rangers, 2-1 (14:09): C John Mitchell whipped a shot over the shoulder of Fleury after taking a pass from Rangers LW Carl Hagelin. The sequence was started by a breakout pass from deep in the defensive zone by D Brian Boyle.

Rangers, 3-1 (15:39): C Brad Richards used Penguins D Brooks Orpik as a screen and whipped a shot high past Fleury. Rangers Callahan kept a puck alive along the boards while battling Crosby in the neutral zone, and LW Ruslan Fedotenko retrieved it and moved a pass quickly to Richards.

Rangers, 4-1 (18:26 PP): Gaborik deftly directed a rebound past Fleury, who had sprawled right-to-left to make an initial leg pad save on Gaborik's backhand shot. Rangers D Michael Del Zotto set up Gaborik's initial shot.

Penguins, 4-2 (19:53): C Evgeni Malkin swopped in and swiped a rebound goal off a shot by Neal, who had taken a pass from LW Steve Sullivan before placing a low blast on Lundqvist.

THIRD PERIOD

Penguins, 4-3 (3:39): Crosby barged to the net, and after drawing a penalty, left the puck for RW Pascal Dupuis, who whistled a shot over Lundqvist.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me