Blueshirts unable to break up Penguins' win streak

BlueshirtsUnited.com | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

By Jim Cerny, BlueshirtsUnited.com

The Rangers hung with the red-hot Penguins for most of their matinee Saturday afternoon, and did a terrific job in shutting down the league's top two scorers in Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz all afternoon long. But in the end the Penguins pulled away for a 3-0 victory over the Rangers based on the play of their less-heralded players.

The defeat was the third straight for the Rangers, who finished their longest road trip of the season 1-3-0. They have been outscored 9-2 in their last three games, previously falling by identical 3-1 scores in Buffalo on Tuesday and in Winnipeg on Thursday.

Tyler Kennedy scored a goal and added an assist for the Penguins, who have won eight games in a row and lead the Eastern Conference with 42 points. Dustin Jeffrey added a pair of assists, and Marc-Andre Fleury posted his first shutout of the season. It was also Fleury's 23rd career shutout, and fourth against the Rangers. He finished with 23 saves.

Trailing 1-0, the Rangers saw the game disolve in a span of 43 seconds early in the third period when Kennedy scored a power play goal at 6:34 and Pascal Dupuis followed with his 14th goal at 7:17, beating Henrik Lundqvist with a pretty backhand finish off a Jeffrey pass.

This one could not have started out any worse for the Rangers, but they persevered, eventually found their footing, and only trailed by a goal entering the third period. First Rick Nash hobbled off the ice on the game's opening shift after blocking a shot with his leg. Then, with Nash being attended to by trainer Jim Ramsay in the runway heading to locker room, Pittsburgh's Beau Bennett ripped a right-circle shot past Lundqvist just 90 seconds into the game to put the Rangers in a 1-0 hole.

The rookie Bennett's second career goal stood up into the final period of play as Lundqvist---in the first period---and Fleury in the second---played solidly in goal for their respective teams. Lundqvist was very sharp after allowing Bennett's goal, and he needed to be as the Penguins dominated the opening 20 minutes---not only outshooting the visitors 13-4, but posessing the puck and making the Rangers chase it nearly the entire period.

The Rangers did not record their first shot on goal until 11:03 had elapsed in the game. Brad Richards was credited with that power play shot. Though not generating much offense early on, the Rangers played a physical brand of hockey, while also blocking 11 shots in the first period. The Rangers were particularly hard on Crosby, who earned a coincidental roughing minor with Dan Girardi late in the period, and who was rubbed out hard into the glass by Ryan McDonagh on a pair of occasions.

Fleury stepped up for the Penguins early in the second as the Rangers came to life. First he made a solid pad save on Nash's spinning shot from the low slot just 40 seconds into the middle period; and then he battled to keep Carl Hagelin's tricky left wing snap shot from crossing the goal line at 1:15. Fleury stopped all ten Ranger shots in the second period, while Lundqvist stopped all six Penguin shots to keep the score 1-0 after 40 minutes of play.

The Rangers, who were shut out for the third time this season---and for a second time by the Penguins, return to Madison Square Garden to play three of their next four games, starting with Monday's contest with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
01:30PIT Beau Bennett (2) ASST: Dustin Jeffrey (1), Tyler Kennedy (3) 1 - 0 PIT
2nd Period
3rd Period
06:34PIT PPG - Tyler Kennedy (4) ASST: Kris Letang (25), Paul Martin (13) 2 - 0 PIT
07:17PIT Pascal Dupuis (14) ASST: Dustin Jeffrey (2), Matt Cooke (8) 3 - 0 PIT
Three Stars of the Game
Marc-Andre Fleury
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 23TOI: 60:00
GA: 0EV: 21-21
PIM: 0PP: 2-2
SV%: 1.000SH: 0-0
Tyler Kennedy
Tyler Kennedy
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 14:00
Dustin Jeffrey
Dustin Jeffrey
G: 0Shots: 0
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 11:21
Penalty Summary
1st Period
07:53NYR J.T. Miller  Cross checking against  Sidney Crosby
09:48PIT Simon Despres  Elbowing against  Carl Hagelin
17:27PIT Sidney Crosby  Roughing against  Dan Girardi
17:27NYR Dan Girardi  Roughing against  Sidney Crosby
2nd Period
12:32NYR Rick Nash  Tripping against  Brooks Orpik
3rd Period
04:55NYR Anton Stralman  Tripping against  Tyler Kennedy
12:23PIT Tanner Glass  Tripping against  Michael Del Zotto
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/21/3
Faceoff Wins3222
Blocked Shots1816
Penalty Minutes86
4M. Del ZottoD0000023:37
5D. GirardiD0001222:44
6A. StralmanD00-21213:38
8D. PoweC0000010:39
10M. GaborikR00-12018:02
14T. PyattL00-12011:40
15J. HalpernC000009:28
19B. RichardsC00-14017:45
21D. StepanC0000020:56
22B. BoyleC00-10011:59
24R. CallahanR0001018:58
27R. McDonaghD0003024:09
32M. HaleyC000108:14
40R. HamrlikD00-20011:49
44S. EmingerD0001021:32
47J. MillerC00-10212:30
61R. NashL0002217:20
62C. HagelinL00-15017:21
30H. Lundqvist2427.88960:00
2M. NiskanenD0012015:06
4M. EatonD0010015:41
7P. MartinD0102025:35
9P. DupuisR1014018:03
10T. GlassL000029:42
14C. KunitzL0001019:49
15D. JeffreyL0220011:21
16B. SutterC0000017:12
18J. NealR0002016:54
19B. BennettR1012012:47
24M. CookeL0111012:36
27C. AdamsR0001010:40
44B. OrpikD0011022:45
46J. VitaleC000109:22
47S. DespresD0011215:21
48T. KennedyC1113014:00
58K. LetangD0104025:35
87S. CrosbyC0002221:31
29M. Fleury23231.00060:00