“Hi can you hear me…It’s 2012 calling to say how about that?!”
Much like their epic statement-making game against the Bruins on January 21, 2012, the Rangers went into the home of the defending-champs and won a game when they had no business doing so.
The parallels between both games are striking.
Boston and Pittsburgh were both defending champs. And nobody knew what to expect from the Rangers at the start of either season.
In 2012 that win launched a run to the Eastern Conference Final. What will this win lead to? Only time will tell.
When the Rangers announced that Henrik Lundqvist had the flu and Ondrej Pavelec was going to start, many felt that the Penguins would win the game.
At the start of the first period you saw that this wasn’t going to be an easy game. The Rangers came out skating well, but Pittsburgh’s Conor Sheary scored to take a 1-0 lead.
But Boo Nieves tied the game with his first career NHL goal.
It remained that way into the second period.
Phil Kessel restored the Penguins’ lead early in the second, but Jesper Fast and Mats Zuccarello each lit the lamp to give the visitors a 3-2 lead heading to the third period.
The seesaw affair continued in the final frame when Patric Hornqvist scored a power-play goal to knot the score at three.
Then, Pavel Buchnevich, who’s having a resurgent season, found out that he’d rather be lucky than good when he passed the puck off Kris Letang’s skate and it bounded into Pittsburgh’s net for a 4-3 Rangers’ lead.
Finally, some nifty saves by Pavelec nailed down the win during the final minute of play.
BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS
PAPA JOHN’S: For the 17th time in 21 games the Blueshirts potted three or more goals. In other words — DIG IN!
MILESTONES: Boo Nieves scored his first career NHL goal 16:49 into the first period. Chris Kreider netted his 100th career assist on Pavel Buchnevich’s game-winning goal. And Michael Grabner played in his 500th career NHL game; joining Thomas Vanek as the only Austrians to play in 500 or more NHL games.
SUBSTITUTE NETMINDER: “But I’m a substitute for another guy.”-The Who. Ondrej Pavelec stepped in for a flu-ridden Lundqvist and delivered a 40-save performance. In a battle of backup netminders, Pavelec reigned supreme.
PUCK LUCK: Mats Zuccarello’s go-ahead goal in the second period just squeaked through Tristan Jarry’s pads. And Pavel Buchnevich’s game-winning goal off Kris Letang’s skate took a wicked bounce into Pittsburgh’s net. If those two goals don’t scream luck, then I don’t know what does.
FOURTH-LINE=FIRST-LINE: The line of Paul Carey-Boo Nieves-Jesper Fast netted three crucial points for the Blueshirts.
The Rangers face Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals Friday (Dec. 8) at Capital One Arena. Game time is 7p.m. ET and the broadcast is on MSG Networks.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but a win’s a win and the Rangers will take two-points however they can get them.