Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Penguins 1 - Rangers 2: Losing a Squeaker

New York Rangers

Sidney Crosby and the boys were obviously tired in the second of back-to-back games as they were outshot 42-22 in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers.

Thanks to the brilliant goaltending of Jocelyn Thibault, the Penguins looked like they could bring this game into OT.

Unfortunately, Jaromir Jagr banked in a lucky shot off of the stick of Rob Scuderi that just squeaked by Thibault with 33 seconds left in the game :(

Sidney was practically shut down and finished -2 with 0 points in 21:37 of ice time. Apart from a couple of spurts, his effort overall was disappointing and the Penguins failed to sustain any attack against a desperate Rangers club.

From Yahoo! Sports:
Jaromir Jagr looked for teammate Michael Nylander -- and luckily found defenseman Rob Scuderi.

Jagr snapped his longest scoring drought of the season Monday night when his pass for Nylander clipped off Scuderi's stick and slipped into the net with 33.8 seconds left in the New York Rangers' 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I am not 24 chasing any records anymore," said the 35-year-old Jagr, who went eight games without scoring for the second time this season. "My goal is to make the playoffs. Right now it doesn't matter as long as we win."

New York moved past idle Carolina into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, two nights after getting into playoff position. The Rangers, who nearly put up back-to-back shutouts for the first time since March 2003, trail sixth-place Tampa Bay by one point with nine games left.

Jagr swung around Alain Nasreddine and flipped the puck toward the net. The drive hit Scuderi and slipped underneath Jocelyn Thibault, who stopped 40 of New York's previous 41 shots. The puck disappeared, but it was revealed over the line when Thibault moved his legs.

"I thought it was in but I wasn't 100 percent sure," said Jagr, who reached 25 goals for the 16th straight season.

The goal was awarded after a video review that lasted a few minutes. Thibault hung his head in the crease and again on the bench after being pulled for an extra skater. He didn't face another shot, but Jagr's goal was enough to snap Pittsburgh's winning streak at five and improve the Rangers' run to 7-1-3.

"I was just trying to squeeze my pads," Thibault said. "I didn't know where it was. For a second I kind of had it. You couldn't see the puck until I split my pads. Knowing that, I would've moved my pads the other way."

The Penguins could've tied New Jersey atop the Atlantic Division with a win, but remained two points back. Thibault sparkled in place of No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who backstopped a 4-3 shootout victory over Ottawa at home Sunday night.

Pittsburgh is 7-1-1 in its last nine and went 4-1 during a stretch of five games in seven days.

"If you look at the big picture, you have to be satisfied," coach Michel Therrien said. "What makes it tough is that we were about 30 seconds from picking up at least another point."

"We got a bad bounce, no doubt," Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said. "We've had our breaks against them throughout the year. This one went against us."

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