Penguins

Another blah start, another big rally … and not enough in OT ☕

The Penguins’ latest two-goal rally wasn’t enough in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Sam Lafferty strips the puck from the Rangers' Brett Howden below the New York goal line Tuesday night. - AP

NEW YORK — Consistency is something for which every team strives, something most coaches will tell you is a key to success.

Except when it isn’t.

Like when it actually is a key to convincing the coach to buy antacids by the pallet. Like when his players make a habit of spotting opponents a multi-goal lead in every game. Like when they fail to score on the power play for weeks at a time.

And so it is for the Penguins, whose 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden was the payoff for their inability to break a few bad habits, even though they did manage to score with a man-advantage for the first time in 12 games.

The most obvious was falling behind by multiple goals, which they did for the fourth consecutive game. They had wiped out those deficits in each of the previous three — and actually rallied to win the previous two — and did so yet again, thanks to second-period goals by Justin Schultz and Jared McCann.

“I give our guys a lot of credit for fighting back,” Mike Sullivan said. “But it’s hard to play if you’re in a two-goal deficit. It’s hard to climb out of that. We climbed out of it tonight, but for me, the lesson learned is that we’ve got to play a full 60.”

Or, in this case, 62-plus, since New York’s rookie winger, Kaapo Kakko, the No. 2 overall pick in the summer’s NHL Draft, steered in a feed from defenseman Adam Fox, another rookie, at 2:24 of overtime for the game-winner.

Then again, overtime might not have been necessary if the Penguins had been more than casually interested observers for most of the first 20 minutes.

“We weren’t ready to play,” Sullivan said. “They were ready to play. They outplayed us in the first period.”

And, predictably, New York outscored the Penguins then, too, as Kakko and Fox got pucks past Matt Murray.

“The game just got away from us in the first period,” Murray said.

Well, not completely, but that had a lot more to do with Murray than the 18 guys in front of him. The Rangers’ 11-8 advantage in shots was relatively modest, but Murray snuffed a number of quality scoring chances that could have effectively ended the game before the intermission.

“Without Murray, the game would have been out of control,” McCann said.

The Penguins regained their equilibrium between periods and, after Schultz pulled them within one just 73 seconds into the second period, McCann then made it 2-2 with a power-play goal — turns out there’s no bylaw against the Penguins scoring one of those, after all — at 12:33.

His goal ended a run of 28 consecutive fruitless opportunities, a slump that actually felt as if it lasted longer than some of the great dynasties of ancient Egypt.

“I was happy for the players, because I know they want to score,” Sullivan said. “It’s been a little bit of a struggle.”

Yeah, just a little bit. Kind of like how Mt. Everest is a little bit of a hill.

Coincidentally enough, the Penguins finally got a man-advantage goal in their first game without Sidney Crosby, who sustained a lower-body injury against the Blackhawks Saturday. What they couldn’t get was a victory, but there’s nothing new about that; they are 0-4-2 in the past half-dozen regular-season games he has missed.

There is no upside to being without Crosby, of course, but there were some positives that could be extracted from this defeat. Not that there were any lingering questions about the Penguins’ resilience, but had there been, they would have been addressed.

Emphatically.

And their penalty-killing was perfect again, not allowing a goal for the seventh game in a row.

“There was some good, and there was some not-so-good,” Sullivan said.

The worst, of course, was having to rebound from yet another deficit. While Sullivan correctly noted that the Penguins’ penchant for falling behind isn’t always an accurate reflection of how a particular game is playing out, it certainly was this time.

“We deserved one point, for sure,” Evgeni Malkin said. “But we need to play better in the first period in the next game, for sure.”

If only to give themselves the opportunity to do something really outrageous. You know, like play with a lead.

“We can’t keep having starts like this,” McCann said. “We know that. For a lot of us, it’s frustrating, and we have to fix it.”

Alex Galchenyuk does not have a goal in his first nine games with the Penguins. “I just think he’s got to be more focused on playing the game the right way,” Sullivan said. “Competing on pucks, winning puck battles, being strong on the (boards), all the details of the game. If a goal-scorer struggles, just based on my experience, part of (the solution) is taking the focus off the scoring and just trying to focus on what you can control — that’s how you play the game, how you think the game, how hard you compete on pucks. Just being focused on that next play, and then I think goals will come.”

• Fox finished the evening with two points in a strong performance that did not surprise Penguins defenseman John Marino, his teammate at Harvard. “Obviously, he’s a great player,” Marino said. “I played with him for three years and kind of expect him to make those plays.”

• The Penguins are 97-54-21 in regular-season games that Crosby misses, 42-34-10 in away games.

Teddy Blueger accounted for eight of the Penguins’ 37 hits.

• Malkin had another strong night on faceoffs, winning 10 of 14.

Artemi Panarin’s assist on the Fox goal that gave New York a 2-0 lead extended his scoring streak to nine games.

THE ESSENTIALS

Boxscore
Video highlights
• NHL scoreboard
NHL standings

THE INJURIES

Sidney Crosby (unspecified lower-body)
Patric Hornqvist (unspecified lower-body) is on injured reserve
Kris Letang (unspecified lower-body)

THE LINEUPS

Sullivan’s lines and pairings:

Dominik Simon — Evgeni Malkin — Bryan Rust
Alex Galchenyuk — Jared McCann — Jake Guentzel
Dominik Kahun — Nick Bjugstad — Sam Lafferty
Zach Aston-Reese — Teddy Blueger — Brandon Tanev

Brian Dumoulin — John Marino
Marcus Pettersson — Justin Schultz
Jack Johnson — Juuso Riikola

And for David Quinn’s Rangers:

Artemi Panarin — Ryan Strome — Jesper Fast
Chris Kreider — Filip Chytil — Pavel Buchnevich
Brendan Lemieux — Brett Howden — Kaapo Kakko
Greg McKegg — Lias Andersson — Brendan Smith

Libor Hajek — Jacob Trouba
Brady Skjei — Anthony DeAngelo
Ryan Lindgren — Adam Fox

THE SCHEDULE

The Penguins have canceled Wednesday’s practice, but will work out Thursday at 1:45 p.m. in Newark, N.J. They will face the Devils Friday at 7:08 p.m. at the Prudential Center.

THE COVERAGE

Visit our team page for everything.

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Steelburgh
Steelburgh

Looking for feedback from more knowledgeable fans, but it sure looked like Malkin was back to doing Malkin things during this game. He had some bursts of inspiration, but he also had some really lazy passes, a few risky breakout passes across the middle of our own zone, and that last overtime rush right into two defenders at the end of a long shift that directly led to the odd-man break the other way and the OT winner. I was disappointed. Otherwise, we were awful for the first ten but absolutely dominant the rest of the way. I’m liking how Sully has this team playing.

Out west
Out west

I think a lot of people like yourself are keyed in on #71 while giving every other player in the team a free pass.

TheWolf
TheWolf

Had them on the ropes in OT. Rags absolutely gassed with the same trio on the ice for a full 2 minutes and Dumo inexplicably throws a back pass out of the offensive zone to NO ONE allowing them to change and BOOM, game over. Unbeleivable lack of awareness and just a completely stupid play.

SyBase10
SyBase10

Huh? Dumo wasn’t on the ice…

SyBase10
SyBase10

Hilarious…two down cups for stating the truth…Dumo was not on the ice for the OT goal…

Yinzers…my Lord…

OnLikeDonkeyKong
OnLikeDonkeyKong

You’re talking about a different play.

I and others are commenting about Dumoulin’s pass that exited the zone allowing New York a full line change after their 3 guys each had a 2 minute shift.

That happened the shift BEFORE the OT goal.

TheWolf
TheWolf

This ^^. Some people just gotta be a holes or theyre not happy

SyBase10
SyBase10

‘I and others are commenting about Dumoulin’s pass that exited the zone allowing New York a full line change after their 3 guys each had a 2 minute shift.”

Oh my Lord, the Pens changed too and Malkin took the puck to the House…

Dumo resetting the play had zipola to do with why we lost…

TheWolf
TheWolf

He didnt “reset the play” he literally cleared the puck down the ice for the Rangers from inside his own O zone allowing 3 exhausted guys who could barely move to get off the ice. If you dont think the Rangers getting fresh legs on the ice for the GWG mattered then Im sorry but youre a complete idiot. Just stop talking. Youre wrong.

scd5045
scd5045

Hey Dave, great stuff and great coverage, what are your thoughts on malkin, the last 2 OTs he seemed lackadaisical. The Blackhawks game he had a lame(actually very lame)shootout attempt and last night his effort and most importantly reading the play better in OT on the 3 on 3 getting back was very bad, I have seen college players getting benched for the same.

Cpt. Delicious Pants
Cpt. Delicious Pants

You know what I really get tired of hearing when discussing the Pens after a loss. It’s how despite the sub-par numbers Murray played great and kept them in the game. I’m sorry but I don’t care how many big saves a goalie makes when he posts a sub-.900 sv% for the game because no team is going to win consistently when their goalie saves fewer than 90% of the shots he faces. Murray’s EVSV% is .911 which is 22nd out of 36 goalies with 9 or more starts. That’s simply not good enough for a goalie that’s supposed to be elite regardless of how the team in plays in front of him. Quite making excuses for the kid because he was fortunate enough to play on 2 great teams where he had someone to help carry the load and start holding him accountable as part of the problem because he has been a big part of the problem since the back-back Cup runs.

scd5045
scd5045

Great point captain.

MichaelM1166
MichaelM1166

Did you watch the game? In the 3rd period he made a couple of fantastic saves that got them to OT, in turn, got them a point in the standings.

TheWolf
TheWolf

He stood on his head this game and kept them in it. In general i dont totally disagree but my god this game wasnt on him, like, at all

SyBase10
SyBase10

What is the % success of shooter v. goalie when letting fly from a high danger area?

Zman
Zman

Gee, you better get on the phone right away and tell the GM who played 400 games in the NHL and the owner who was one of the 2 or 3 best offensive players ever that you know more than they do about their goalie.

Dave McGrane
Dave McGrane

Hey DK, been traveling on vacation In Vietnam and Cambodia for the last two weeks, it has been great to keep up on Sports from the Burgh! Great job as usual. Thanks, Dave Mc

Jeditig
Jeditig

Despite how they have been playing (starting), the are 4-1-2 in last 7. And then just when you think it is gone…. two back to backs coming up. The first is ok as the leafs play the night before as well, but next week, the DEvils do not.

Joe in Nebraska
Joe in Nebraska

There should never, ever be a reason for Simon to see the ice in 3 on 3, unless Sully wants to help him pad his Corsi stats. 😳🤔🙄

Jeditig
Jeditig

No idea why he backed that puck out when Isles were dead tired in OT and let them change.

Joe in Nebraska
Joe in Nebraska

It was beyond stupid.

PurpleMoose
PurpleMoose

It’s easy Jay it was so the Penguins could keep posession of the puck. After all, isn’t that what he is all about?

snowbeltfan
snowbeltfan

Thought Bjugstad looked injured for the rest of the game after taking that hit on the power play. He seemed to have no start/stop ability after, and i got the impression he was just gutting it out. Anybody agree?

Burghthing
Burghthing

I understand Sully cancelling the morning skate, but does he have to give them the first period off too?

MT
MT

LOL

SyBase10
SyBase10

Might have to start calling Galchenyuk “Casper”…seriously, has he done anything worthy of note? A pass…forcing goalie into a brilliant save? Hustling on back check?

Has anyone else noticed how much Tanev falls down? Noticed that last week v Islanders and then again v Blackhawks and last night it was glaring.

Are we really putting Kahun in front of the net on the PP? If we’re down Horny then ZAR belongs there and it’s where he made his living @ Northeastern…

Very impressed with how Muzzy has played since after 1st period of Isles…think/hope he may be climbing out of it…

Very impressed with how the D Zone coverage has also been giving Muzzy clear sight lines to the puck…

JJ is playing like a kid again…looks like he’s finally having fun…Schultz is trying to do too much…step-up-itus w/Tanger out?

The best news ever is that this team is nothing like the team we saw go down 4-0 last April…good things are ahead…

MSPPENSFAN
MSPPENSFAN

Sybase 10 bringing it correct!!! Nice post

Wrightad909
Wrightad909

I don’t post much but what I saw last nite. 1.Wonder if we can keep Malkin off the power play?
2. They seemed to skate without much of a plan of attack in OT 3 on 3. The other team was gassed and they didn’t capitalize.

paldrich2
paldrich2

Rangers are going to be really good in the next couple of years.

SyBase10
SyBase10

Depth is an issue as is their goaltending…

sooveed
sooveed

Besides the Hall of Famer they have still
playing well Georgiev is pretty darn solid bot aure what your talking about.

Of course depth is an issue they are rebuilding. Kakko has also been playing on their 3rd line and hes got a bright future so…

Thanks for your analysis though

SyBase10
SyBase10

“Besides the Hall of Famer they have still playing well Georgiev is pretty darn solid bot (sic) aure (sic) what your talking about.”

We will see how the season pans out for them…

paldrich2
paldrich2

I don’t think goaltending is an issue; problem is with how they defend. They are still a year away at least. But the future is very bright. There is more youth on the way as well.

scd5045
scd5045

Sy you are a big dummy, you need to focus on real hockey not Nintendo

SyBase10
SyBase10

WTF are you babbling about, again?

The Rangers lack of depth has been widely discussed going back to the off season through to this very week…

https://www.lohud.com/story/sports/nhl/rangers/2019/08/14/new-york-rangers-2019-20-roster-analysis-centers/2000151001/

I’d post what everyone knows is their situation in net but I’ve wasted enough time on you already…

MisterZ
MisterZ

The Steelers are finding a way to survive without Ben.
Wonder if that will be the case for the Pens without Sid.

SeanCampbell
SeanCampbell

They have always survived regardless of who is hurt. They’re around 100 points and in the playoffs every year.

stnies
stnies

The good news is that the Pens only have Galchenyuk signed through the end of the year. Can let him walk if he doesn’t pick it up a LOT.

SeanCampbell
SeanCampbell

Or dump him at the trade deadline for a pick. Time will tell if he gets comfortable. There’s been no consistency this year bc of the injuries. Adjusting to a new team is real struggle.

Bettis36
Bettis36

So the Athletic is reporting Sid is deciding whether to have sports hernia surgery. Says he’s been dealing with it all season. Could be down 4 to 6 weeks. Certainly fits with what’s been reported here about seeing a “core specialist”. I’m only posting this because that as*hole was blabbering on yesterday about him tearing his groin off his bone and he’s done for the season.

Hockeymn25
Hockeymn25

The core specialist thing made me wonder if thats what it was. You can fight through the hernia, but a month off is probably the way to go. They can make a run when he returns….

SyBase10
SyBase10

The Page 6 of Pittsburgh Sports…

DMFer
DMFer

In spite of some flaws, you still have to like the overall look and feel of this team. They don’t quit, have a deep roster, get contributions from all 4 lines and find a way to get points almost every night while missing star players. In a 7 game series, this team will be a handful for anyone they play.

amishmafia
amishmafia

Malkin has to pick it up. For sure.

suitcasejohnny
suitcasejohnny

Yeah, a point per game is awful. Needs to pick it up!

TheWolf
TheWolf

Hes getting his points but hes also throwing the puck away with bad passes at a shocking rate. For every great pass for a goal like the one he made to Rust the other night hes throwing it away with regularity. Lesser players would be getting benched for that kind of sloppiness

MT
MT

Did I miss Haley’s Comet last night??? :/

BubbaBanjo
BubbaBanjo

Malkin Brain Cramped this one away. But it was totally lost in passing it away with exhausted Rangers right before that. Both let them off the hook.

DMFer
DMFer

Agree but Geno is like Letang, moments of brilliance followed by inexplicable decision making. Overall he played a solid game last night.

Hockeymn25
Hockeymn25

He also let his man go on the game winner. No hustle on that play at all. That is frustrating to watch….

SyBase10
SyBase10

His “man” started 10 strides ahead of him…

jackw007
jackw007

Exactly. And yeah, how dare he make a pass right to a guy crashing the net? The pass was not perfect, but Rust also didn’t handle it well. The coaching insight from the rec league wannna be HoF coaches on this site crack me up.

scott.h.hillman
scott.h.hillman

The blind backhand pass from below the goal line into the slot is not something you do in 3 on 3. It’s not even a great idea 5 on 5. If it works then you’re very lucky. If not, you’ve started the break out for the opponent. Malkin’s pass lost us OT.

SyBase10
SyBase10

I am sure Rusty was calling for the puck…

OnLikeDonkeyKong
OnLikeDonkeyKong

Wasn’t Malkin who made the pass. Pretty sure it was Dumoulin.

SyBase10
SyBase10

Watch the replay again…it was Geno…

OnLikeDonkeyKong
OnLikeDonkeyKong

Different plays

Hockeymn25
Hockeymn25

its not my fault you know nothing….

Hockeymn25
Hockeymn25

Irrelevant. He coasted. Backcheck hard and he could have intervened. They slowed a bit to set up the pass and he could have at least attempted to break up the play. Lack of effort in any sport is unacceptable…

Steelburgh
Steelburgh

I agree. Malkin made a bad decision to try to force his way through two defenders when he was nearly on empty at the end of a long shift. He didn’t even attempt to get back on defense after that. His poor decision directly led to the OT winner. We were dominating up until that point; there was no need to take that risk.

TomPaulBillyBob
TomPaulBillyBob

That OT loser was frustrating …. after 2 minutes of zone time, the Rangers were completely gassed and the Pens (to borrow a line from the late, great Dennis Green) let ’em off the hook

followthrough
followthrough

Dave, nothing on Malkin’s “effort” on the backcheck in the OT Winner? He handed the Rangers the extra point all by himself!

Chris Popovic
Chris Popovic

Was just about to post the same thing. His half-ass attempt to get it in gear led to the 3 on 2 game winner. If he tries even a little he could have poke-checked that puck away. His comment about starting better in the first is ironic, considering how he fails to finish so often.

45309
45309

And no effort to cover the open player… Really lackadaisical. But that’s Malkin…

SyBase10
SyBase10

Malkin had just virtually gone end to end and then fed Rust in the slot who didn’t appear ready for the puck…

Schultz took himself out of the play by playing it 2 on 2 instead of 3 on 2…he should have protected the weak side by maintaining the middle…watch the play…he tells Rust to take the strong side and then joins him there…

Was more than just Malkin being gassed…

Paddy
Paddy

I enjoyed his effort for 60 minutes, they lost the game in the first period team game

DJ
DJ

Galchenyuk is looking like this year’s Brassard.

Greater skills but results equating to the same.

Karen22
Karen22

How can they not be ready to play?? This script is getting old.

mjrs
mjrs

Malkin gave up back checking, stopped moving his feet completly on the ot goal. So frusterating

jmjardina
jmjardina

You’re right…If Malkin skates hard on that play, the Rangers don’t score.

OnLikeDonkeyKong
OnLikeDonkeyKong

How long had he been out there? A lot of clamoring about Malkin entering the TV picture as the puck was going in and not enough emphasis on the 10-15 seconds before.

Zebug
Zebug

He just got onto the ice at the end of the 2 minute zone time, fumbled a pass that let the Rangers make a line change and then didn’t backcheck…so I’m guessing it was about 30 seconds of ice time.

edit: I just looked it up, it was 29 seconds.

OnLikeDonkeyKong
OnLikeDonkeyKong

Good stuff. Thanks.

What site did you use?

Zebug
Zebug

Ultimately I used NHL.com but their navigation to relevant detailed stats is worse than the Penguins powerplay. So this site is really easy to navigate and has links to just about anything you can imagine.

http://www.nicetimeonice.com/?game_order=desc&game_type=2&season=2019&team=PIT

Hockeymn25
Hockeymn25

We have Zebug for stats here. You don’t need to look anything up, just ask. lol. Z is da man

SyBase10
SyBase10

‘He just got onto the ice at the end of the 2 minute zone time, fumbled a pass that let the Rangers make a line change and then didn’t backcheck…”

Malkin? What pass did he fumble? He took the puck to the net…followed his rebound and put the puck out to Rusty in the slot…a pass that was missed and continued on out of the zone as a Ranger picked it up…Malkin started ~40 feet behind the play after skating his ass off to get to that point…the level of his back check was irrelevant to the sloppy D Zone coverage that opened up that cross ice pass and tap in…

You can break that goal down 10000 times…it’s going to reveal the same thing…Schultz overloaded the strong side of the ice and opened up the cross ice pass…if he holds his lane he either has a good chance to break up the pass or he forces the puck carrier into a different look…

Zebug
Zebug

it was before that SyBase, the pass that allowed the Rangers to get a line change. He and Dumo f’d up at the blue line and the puck went down to the Penguins end, THEN Geno had a good drive to the net.

scd5045
scd5045

Correct zebug

scd5045
scd5045

Totally agree mjrs, he’s a pro and he should be aware of the 3-3 situation and not getting stuck, which he did.

OnLikeDonkeyKong
OnLikeDonkeyKong

1) At some point, Matt Murray has to learn how to poke check an opponent on a breakaway. Guys are able to handle the puck into the crease. As good as he is already, that’s something to make him even better.

2) Another goal against immediately following an ill timed pinch from Schultz.

3) Not enough emphasis on the STUPID play in OT. 3 Rangers on the ice for the better part of 2 minutes and you clear the puck yourself with another inane blind pass when there was zero need to. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb!

Kappy
Kappy

100 Up Cups. Totally agree with #3. The Pens had them on the ropes. The Rangers were gassed. Why leave the zone? Put pressure on them and maybe the Pens score. I just couldn’t believe that the Pens left the zone in OT!

Frankbuck
Frankbuck

4) “For sure!”

iacas
iacas

1 and 3 are incredibly spot on. The one goal slid past Murray’s left pad, he didn’t even try to use his stick for anything. They’re highly unlikely to call tripping on a goalie with a guy in the crease, so even if you miss the puck at least trip the guy up or something.

Paddy
Paddy

Thought they would pull it out but the guys had nothing left after trying to get the game winner in OT

tpm66
tpm66

I heard from a friend with close ties to the NHL that Sid is out at least 6 weeks with a sports hernia.

Zebug
Zebug

I don’t like it when you say mean things 🙁

Kevin Connors
Kevin Connors

Are the reports of Sid considering SURGERY for a sports hernia true in the minds of Team DK?

Str8steel
Str8steel

We keep saying that we can’t come out flat and have to fix it, then turn around and do it again the very next game.

Cliff70
Cliff70

Same as it ever was.

PurpleMoose
PurpleMoose

Yep all Galchenyuk has to do is play the game the right way. Getting really tired of that quote by Sullivan.

Donnie
Donnie

“A slump that actually felt as if it lasted longer than some of the great dynasties of ancient Egypt.” That one zinger alone is worth my subscription lol.

Rainmanoly
Rainmanoly

They’ve played well in some of the games they fell behind in….. whew! Not this one! Stink Samich of a first period. I believe shots were 9 to 1 half way thru the first period.

gojo
gojo

I am seeing reports that Sid is dealing with a hernia and that surgery would keep him out for 4-6 weeks. Anyone at DK know if this is true?

Dejan Kovacevic
Dejan Kovacevic
thblack3
thblack3

If DK isn’t your go to site you’re making a mistake.

Rainmanoly
Rainmanoly

Yup, they ain’t always first, but they are always accurate!

scd5045
scd5045

It could be the go to site for Pittsburgh sports, but the multiple continuous technical issues hold it way back.