Welcome to the post-season, New York Rangers. Intensity, pace, referees allow both teams to play. And again and again.
Half a decade has passed since the Rangers were in the playoffs and their first game in the Stanley Cup hunt was an instant reminder of why post-season hockey is so compelling and, for a losing team, heartbreaking.
The Rangers were the team on Tuesday when they lost a triple overtime slugfest to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3, in a game that set a multiple playoff record. After three periods of goalless hockey in the third period and the first two extra halves, Eugene Malkin prevented the Penguins from hitting teammate John Marino, Rangers goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin, in 5 minutes and 58 seconds before the end of the third overtime. The longest opening game in the playoff series since 1939.
“This is a playoff game against one of our opponents,” said Penguin right-back Brian Rast, who had a goal and two assists. “We knew it would be a good, fast and hard game and that’s what we got.”
The game – the longest game ever played in the current Madison Square Garden, which opened in 1968 – featured almost everything: power-play goals, short goals, inverted goals, goalposts, and a goalkeeper who limped off the ice. Obvious trauma and near-miss after a close miss.
The Rangers and Penguins together scored 151 shots on goal. Shesterkin, who led all the goalkeepers with average goals in the regular season, stopped 79 shots, which is second in the playoffs.
Shesterkin broke the all-time record for saves in the game set in 2020 by Juna Corpisalo from the Columbus Blue Jackets, who made 85 saves in a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay Lightning. This game was also the first game in the first round series. It was Shesterkin Eighth goalkeeper in NHL history And the first ranger to make more than 70 says in the game.
In retrospect, there was a lot of close avoidance that could have sent fans home much earlier than 23:48pm when Malkin scored the winner of the match. The biggest chance came just three minutes before the end of regular time when the Rangers appeared to score.
Rangers wing Kaapo Kako rushed towards the goal when Pittsburgh defender Brian Dumoulin was behind. Dumulin Appeared to be pushing or leaning On Kako’s back when he collided with penguin goalkeeper Casey Desmith. Kako slipped past the net, passing the ball to his teammate, Philippe Chittille, who threw it into a vulnerable net.
But the Penguins protested the goal and after a video review, the referee ruled that Kako did not force it and thus prevented Smith and the goal went off the board.
“It was a three-time overtime game, so you could look at a lot of games,” then-Rangers center Ryan Strom said. It was a 4-3 game, but they scored one goal that was important.
The rangers were younger and less experienced than the penguins. Chris Craider and Mika Zibanejad are the only players left from the team’s last trip in the 2017 post-season. Shesterkin had a fabulous season, but only played in one post-season.
In contrast, the Penguins have been post-season matches for 16 years in a row. The triumvirate of Sidney Crosby, Chris Letang and Malkin played nearly 500 playoff games, all with Pittsburgh and together won the Stanley Cup.
The Rangers – the sixth youngest team in the league – emerged as the most hungry team in the first period, losing weight and reaching the Penguins, who have the fourth oldest list, faster.
Rangers defender Adam Fox started scoring near the middle of the period when he took Zibanejad’s pass and kicked it from the blue line that slipped over Desmitt’s right shoulder.
The abundance of rangers sometimes surpassed them. Less than two minutes into the first half, defender Ryan Lindgren was sent off two minutes after he shrugged his shoulders at Pittsburgh winger Richard Raquel. Raquel nodded and fell on the ice and they had to help. Lindgren was initially awarded a 5-minute penalty, which was reduced to two minutes.
In the second half, the Rangers continued where they left off. For more than three minutes after that period, Strom slipped behind the net and passed to Andrew Cope, who fired a shot from close range while sliding to the net on one knee.
But as the rangers seemed to feel comfortable, the penguins found a leg. Less than 90 seconds later, Crosby fired the ball into the net, where Jake Gentzel, the team’s leading scorer, threw it into the net.
Seven minutes later, Crosby, after cutting the upper part of the zone unprotected, again found the genius. Shesterkin barely had a chance to respond.
The Rangers regained the lead after Patrick Nemeth was sent off in the match for his second penalty. During the Pittsburgh Power game, Zibanejad picked up a peak, made his way to the ice, and found a crater running to the left. The crater forged De Smith and Auckhand scored with a short goal.
Rangers defender Jacob Truba was also sent off before Nemet returned from the penalty spot. With two men falling, the Rangers almost burned Nemet’s penalty. But Malkin handed it to Letang, who shook hands with Rust and equalized the score to three goals.
In the second period, the Penguins beat the Rangers 25-8.
Neither in the third period nor in the first two overtimes did either team score a goal or take a penalty. During the game, the players went more slowly to the spare benches, their passes were not so sharp and they collided with each other more often.
In the middle of the second overtime, Desmith limped off the ice and went into the locker room during a timeout. He was replaced by Louis Dominguez, who has made just two appearances this season. He stopped all 17 shots, which countered.
After the game, Said Dominguez To eat spicy pork and broccoli between the first and second half. “Not the best,” he said. “I did not expect to enter.”
Sweat-soaked T-shirts and skates, the players looked aggravated. Guntzel said he and his teammates ate bananas and energy bars between periods.
“I feel great,” he told Sportsnet before leaving the dressing room after the game.
He and the Penguins undoubtedly felt this and relieved after Malkin found the net with the game winner.