With 11 seconds left and the Rangers clinging to a one goal lead, none other than Sidney Crosby had the puck on his stick with a chance to tie the game with 11 seconds left but Jonathan Quick made the biggest save of the game as the Rangers gutted out an impressive 1-0 road win over the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena Wednesday night.
Quick made 32 stops but none bigger than the one on Crosby to preserve his second shutout of the season and 60th of his career. “I know he’s over there and he has a little space. Try to cut the angle down a little bit so he has a little less net to shoot at,” the 37-year old said after the game.
After killing off a late penalty, the Penguins pulled their goaltender to get the extra man on the ice. Crosby took a pass from Jake Guentzel and was wide open in the slot. The Penguins captain fired a shot and Quick had the puck deflect off of his right shoulder to keep the Penguins off the board.
The veteran goaltender, who is now 5-0-1 on the season, got great support from his defense and special teams as the Rangers killed off five Penguin power plays including a pair of consecutive penalties in the third period.
Jacob Trouba was called for a delay of game at the 9:00 minute mark of the third period. Ten seconds after Trouba came out of the penalty box, Barclay Goodrow went off for hooking, but the penalty killing unit was superb all night long and got the job done.
Quick made a couple of clutch saves in the third period. He denied Crosby early in the period on a 2 on 1 break, saved Vinnie Hinostroza’s shot with traffic in front and Pettersson on a break in, where the puck popped in the air but K’Andre Miller was able to bat it out of the zone.
The Rangers were coming off a regulation loss for the first time in a month so their response was important and they came up with one of their better all around games of the season.
The Rangers did not sit on the lead and, for the most park, kept the play in the offensive zone. The only reason they didn’t have three or four goals was the play of Jarry, who was brilliant in keeping Pittsburgh in the game. Jarry made 35 saves, 16 of those in the second period when he denied the Rangers on numerous scoring chances.
It was a solid defensive effort that factored into the win. The Rangers blocked 27 shots as they frustrated a Penguins team that has had some offensive troubles, particularly on the power play. (Penguins are 1 for 24 in their last 8 games). “Defensively, guys were really working,” Coach Peter Laviolette said, “I thought Quickie [Jonathan Quick] played unbelievable in net tonight and walk away with a big win.”
The only save that Jarry did not make came in the first period when Alexis Lafreniere, who was one of the best players on the ice, scored the only goal of the game off a breakaway.
Mika Zibanejad took the puck in the neutral zone and passed it to Lafreniere who had gotten behind the defense. Lafreniere broke in on Jarry and beat him top shelf, with a back hand shot for a 1-0 lead at 5:10 of the first period. It was Lafreniere’s eighth goal of the season and fourth in his last five games.
Zibanejad’s assist was not his only contribution to the win. On the opening shift of the game, Marcus Pettersson’s shot was kept out of the net by Zibanejad’s left skate.
Late in the first period, the Penguins thought they had tied the game.
Quick had his glove knocked off by a Penguins player as play continued. After the apparent tying goal was scored, the Rangers challenged for off side and it was a successful challenge as they maintained a 1-0 lead.
According to the referees, goaltender interference was not called because of where the Pittsburgh player made contact with the glove. “He [referee] said because my glove was outside the crease, even though my feet were inside the crease, goal probably would stand,” said Quick. “We caught a break there, they were off side.”
The Rangers are 11-1-1 in their last 13 games and will finish the road trip on Black Friday with an afternoon matinee in Philadelphia against the improved Flyers.