Rangers lose to Pens in shootout but get a point
PITTSBURGH -- In a game that had the intensity of the playoffs, from nastiness to puck battles to great saves, Jussi Jokinen scored for the Penguins in regulation and added the winner in the shootout to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 win over the Rangers Friday night.
Still, Rick Nash's goal at 15:11 of the third helped the Rangers (18-15-4, 40 points) earn a precious point and put them in a tie for seventh with the Islanders (18-16-4, 40 points) in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers have a game in hand. Both are a point ahead of the ninth-place Devils (15-13-9).
"I thought we played really well," said coach John Tortorella, whose team had beaten goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and the league-leading Penguins, 6-1, at home on Wednesday. "Fleury was the difference. We wanted four [points], but we'll take the three."
Jokinen, who was acquired from Carolina on Wednesday, scored the lone goal in the shootout. Henrik Lundqvist denied Evgeni Malkin and Pascal Dupuis, but it wasn't enough to earn a second point. Fleury was spectacular with a season-high 34 saves and stopped Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Callahan in the shootout.
"It was a tough game to lose when you feel everybody's on their game,'' Zuccarello said, "but that's hockey."
The Rangers fell to 6-9-2 on the road, where they will play seven of their final 11 games, starting Saturday in Carolina.
It was unclear whether Lundqvist, who said he felt a tug in his left hamstring on Malkin's shootout try, or Michael Del Zotto, who could face a league review for a third-period collision that felled James Neal, will play against the Hurricanes.
Lundqvist, who also was slashed on the shoulder by Matt Cooke earlier in the period, said he thought stretching and a massage would loosen the hamstring, but it is possible that Martin Biron will step in.
Del Zotto was uncertain what happened to Neal. "I knew I was going to get hit on the forecheck and tried to brace myself," he said. "I hope he's OK. I just go out there and play hard and keep within the system."
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Neal will be monitored the next few days. Dupuis also took a run at Del Zotto on an icing, and Del Zotto said: "The game got pretty heated after that."
With the Rangers trailing 1-0 on Jokinen's goal at the 30-second mark of the third period, Derek Stepan won a faceoff and pulled it back to Nash, who fired through Ryan Callahan's screen and under Fleury's left arm. All but two of Nash's 14 goals have come in the third period.
A review ruled out a goal when Fleury lay on his back in the net covering Derrick Brassard's shot just 19 seconds before Nash's goal.
With 9:45 left, the Penguins, who have beaten the Rangers four of five times, had their second power play when Brian Boyle cross-checked Chris Kunitz. Douglas Murray leveled Boyle soon after and Cooke started chirping at the Rangers' bench before several Rangers pushed him away.
Notes & quotes: Ryane Clowe had his first fight as a Ranger with Derek Engelland at 8:13 of the first . . . D Marc Staal (eye injury) is with the team but is not skating. He will be in Carolina to see family, then return to New York.