Kapanen, Pittsburgh Penguins stay in 4-2 win over Rangers | scorching information, sports activities, jobs

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Teddy Blueger, 53, is greeted by teammates on the bench after scoring against the New York Rangers in the second phase of an NHL hockey game on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo / Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Kasperi Kapanen scored his fourth goal in his last five games and the aspiring Pittsburgh Penguins beat New York Rangers 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Teddy Blueger and Jake Guentzel also scored a goal for the Penguins, who were able to gain a foothold on their homestand 4-1 in the hard-fought East Division. Sidney Crosby’s empty goal, 32 seconds ahead, helped Pittsburgh escape.

Tristan Jarry finished the game with 33 saves – including some scrambling stops on his stomach in the final minutes to get a one-goal lead. He improved to 8-3 in his last 11 starts.

New York defender Jack Johnson, who first appeared in Pittsburgh since the Penguins released him in the off-season, scored his first goal in more than a year. Ryan Strome finished ninth with a power play result early in the third period. Keith Kinkaid made 23 stops while withstanding an early barrage but eventually eased when the Rangers dropped their second straight.

The East Division looks very much like a five-team race for four playoff spots as the shortened 56-game season nears its middle. The Penguins stayed there in the opening month despite a string of injuries to their defenders and a slow start from Jarry, who became their # 1 goalkeeper when two-time Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray traded in the off-season.

The penguins dominated the first period. Kinkaid held back the barrage and Johnson gave Rangers the 9:16 lead as his innocent flip from the top found his way through traffic – possibly aided by a distraction from Pittsburgh defender John Marino’s skate – and Jarry. The goal was Johnson’s first since January 19, 2020, when he was in the middle of his sophomore season at Pittsburgh.

The penguins bought up the last three years of Johnson’s contract in early October to make their blue line younger and faster. Güntzel’s goal provided a snapshot of why Pittsburgh wanted to continue.

Crosby made sales in the New York Zone and provided a grazing Güntzel with a cross-ice pass. Johnson was the next ranger, but instead of attacking Güntzel or attempting a poke check, he hesitated and Güntzel tore a shot over Kinkaid’s glove to tie him at 1:06 in the first.

Blueger gave Pittsburgh a 2:40 lead with his second shorthanded goal of the season in the second half when he and penalty linemate Brandon Tanev took advantage of the Rangers’ shaky game. Brian Dumoulin fed Tanev a stretch pass that basically made a choice for Blueger. He ran across the New York crease and slipped a backhand from Kinkaid.

Kapanen, who has jumped up and down the line-up but seems to have found a home with Evgeni Malkin in the second row, ended his pressure with his seventh goal of the season, just 19 seconds ahead in the second.

Strome pulled the Rangers into third within a 3:18 goal when his pass from the left circle to the front of the net was deflected by a penguin player and passed Jarry.

New York flirted with tying it late. Only a series of quality stops from Jarry kept the Rangers in check before Crosby’s empty nice from the center ice let the penguins exhale.


Rangers: Continue your six-game road trip in Boston on Thursday.

Penguins: Take on the Sabers for the first time this season when they visit Buffalo for a two-game set starting Thursday.

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