PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A major penalty assessed to Matt Cooke proved to be the turning point in a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers Sunday afternoon.
With the score tied 1-1 and the Penguins carrying the majority of the play, Cooke was given a five-minute major for elbowing Ryan McDonagh at 4:36 of the third period.
Cooke was ejected from the game and will likely face additional discipline from the NHL.
The Penguins went to work on the penalty kill and were holding the Rangers off the scoreboard.
About two minutes into the kill, Chris Kunitz broke into the Rangers’ zone and fired a wrist shot over Lundqvist’s blocker to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
Just over 90 seconds after the goal, Matt Niskanen caught Ryan Callahan in the face with his stick and was sent to the box for four minutes.
The Penguins were faced with killing 1:46 of a 5-on-3 disadvantage, but the Rangers made them pay.
Marian Gaborik cashed in on a rebound to Fleury’s left at 9:28. Only 11 seconds later, Callahan scored the eventual game-winning goal from a sharp angle.
Pittsburgh had a chance to tie the game late on the power play, but failed to do so. As his penalty expired, McDonagh hopped onto the ice and had a breakaway.
Fleury made two stops on him, but the Penguins couldn’t gather the rebound and Derek Stepan deposited it into the vacant net to put the Rangers up 4-2 at 18:45.
With Fleury on the bench for the extra attacker, Brandon Dubinsky sealed the game with a wrist shot from center ice to cap the scoring in the game.
In the first period, the Rangers struck first.
New York was able to pin the Penguins in their own zone for an extended period of time, before the puck worked its way behind the goal line to Fleury’s left.
Callahan fed a pass into the slot through Zbynek Michalek’s legs that Artem Anisimov one-timed through Fleury’s legs at 11:20.
Almost five minutes later, Jordan Staal answered for the Penguins.
James Neal sprung Staal for a mini-breakaway. Staal gave Lundqvist a quick shoulder fake and blew the puck between his arm and body to tie the game at 1-1.
No goals were scored in the second period. However, the Penguins dominated the period, outshooting the Rangers 19-7. After two periods, the Penguins held a 29-14 advantage in shots, but Lundqvist stood tall. They outshot New York 40-26 for the game.
The Penguins will now head to Detroit to take on the Red Wings Monday night at 7:30 p.m.