The Pittsburgh Penguins squandered a two-goal lead on house ice and, extra importantly, an opportunity to eradicate the New York Rangers in a Sport 6 loss on Friday night time.
“No one mentioned that it was going to be simple, you understand?” mentioned defenseman Kris Letang, after his workforce’s 5-3 loss that prolonged their sequence to a Sport 7 at Madison Sq. Backyard on Sunday. “It’s a race to 4. We’ve got to regroup, keep optimistic and get the job performed.”
It was the second straight recreation the Penguins misplaced a 2-0 lead within the second interval to a Rangers’ rally, dropping each video games. In Sport 5, the lack of captain Sidney Crosby to damage left Pittsburgh surprised because the Rangers rallied. In Sport 6, with out Crosby within the lineup, it was undisciplined play and ineffective particular groups by the Penguins that led to New York’s win.
“I’d like us to take care of the lead, you understand? We had been in place. The workforce was enjoying properly. We give them an influence play, they rating, after which it’s a one-goal recreation,” mentioned coach Mike Sullivan.
Main 3-2 within the sequence, Pittsburgh was up 2-0 within the second interval after Jeff Carter and Bryan Rust solved Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin within the first interval, resulting in loud mocking chants of “Igor!” from the house followers.
However then got here the turning level. Penguins ahead Evan Rodrigues was cross-checked by Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren. The referees didn’t whistle a penalty, however they did on Rodrigues’s retaliation. The Rangers solely wanted 5 seconds to transform on the ability play on a Mika Zibanejad objective.
New York has scored targets in bunches this sequence and did it once more in Sport 6 as Zibanejad scored his second of the sport and the sequence simply 1:16 after his first objective, tying the sport 2-2.
Sullivan mentioned Rodrigues “merely can’t” take a penalty in that spot, particularly with the Rangers’ potent energy play able to get them again within the recreation.
“He can’t. He simply merely can’t. He’s received to maintain his feelings in test. That’s a mandatory a part of successful at the moment of 12 months,” mentioned Sullivan, pointedly.
The Rangers had been 2-for-3 on the ability play, together with Chris Kreider’s second-period objective that gave New York a 3-2 lead. Evgeni Malkin would tie the sport on a breakaway objective, however Kreider’s objective with 1:28 left in regulation within the third interval ended up because the game-winner. The Penguins had been 0-for-3 on the ability play.
“I feel I’m in all probability stating the plain, however particular groups had been the important thing to the sport. We’ve received to be higher,” mentioned Sullivan.
A key to that energy play is Crosby, who was dominated out of Sport 6 with a concussion, sources informed ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. He was injured in Sport 5 after taking a excessive hit from Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. He was dominated out of Sport 6, as had been ahead Rickard Rakell, who was injured on a success in Sport 1; and defenseman Brian Dumoulin, who was additionally lacking since Sport 1.
The Penguins misplaced ahead Brian Boyle to an damage after simply two shifts within the first interval of Sport 6, depriving them of one of many workforce’s finest penalty killers. Enjoying via damage losses was the story of the sequence for the Penguins.
Their regular-season beginning goalie Tristan Jarry missed the sequence with an damage. His backup Casey DeSmith was injured in double extra time in Sport 1 and was changed by third-stringer Louis Domingue, who had appeared in solely two regular-season video games. Domingue battled via the sequence and has not often been a legal responsibility for the Penguins. However he struggled to make a save on Kreider’s game-winner, with the puck bouncing off his glove and again into the web.
The Penguins’ consideration now turns to Sport 7, and who is perhaps out there for that recreation. Crosby skated with abilities coach Ty Hennes on Friday and Sullivan mentioned the workforce captain is “in place.” Jarry practiced with the Penguins on Friday. His standing for Sport 7 hasn’t been decided.