Rangers takeaways from 7-4 Game 3 loss to Penguins, including comeback effort coming up short

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Penguins Evan Rodrigues celebrating goal in Game 3 vs. Rangers
Penguins Evan Rodrigues celebrating goal in Game 3 vs. Rangers

The Rangers erased a 4-1 first-period deficit, but they came up short in Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, falling by a final score of 7-4.

Here are some key takeaways ...

1. The Penguins scored an early goal in this one, but not without controversy. From behind the net, Brock McGinn had a puck deflect into the back of the net, but it was initially waived off because the net came off its moorings. After review, though, it was ruled that the puck crossed the goal line before the net came loose, giving Pittsburgh a quick 1-0 lead.

It didn’t take long for the Rangers to answer back, and it was The Kid Line getting it done. Alexis Lafreniere led a great charge down the ice from the right wing, and he sent a beautiful backhand pass to the left circle to Kaapo Kakko, who wristed one past Louis Domingue to tie the game.

2. After a questionable penalty call on Justin Braun, the Penguins jumped back ahead on the power play. Evan Rodrigues sent a shot from the point through a lot of traffic, and Jeff Carter was credited for the deflection and goal.

The Rangers were called for another penalty – this time Andrew Copp with a high stick, and Rodrigues notched a power play tally of his own, collecting his own rebound off the back wall to sneak one past Igor Shesterkin, giving the Penguins a 3-1 lead halfway through the period.

Later in the period, former Ranger Brian Boyle laid a big hit to force a turnover in the Rangers zone, and he found Rodrigues who notched his second goal of the period (nearly his third if not for the Carter tip-in). Pittsburgh scored on four of their first 11 shots on net. Shesterkin was replaced in net by Alexandar Georgiev to start the second period.

3. The Rangers came out of the gates in the second period with a ton of energy, and Frank Vatrano was able to capitalize off a beautiful pass from Chris Kreider to trim the Penguins’ lead to 4-2 with 13 minutes left in the period.

A little more than a minute later, the Rangers struck again. This time it was Artemi Panarin lighting the lamp, as he patiently waited at the left circle before wristing one past Domingue. Just like that, the Penguins’ lead was trimmed to one.

4. The Blueshirts carried the momentum all period long, and with the Penguins on the power play, Kevin Rooney made an outstanding play to force a turnover, and even with the net coming loose, this time it went in the Rangers favor as Copp cleaned up the loose puck and scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game, completely erasing what was a three-goal lead.

5. The third period started with the game tied 4-4, and it stayed that way for a while thanks to some outstanding saves from Georgiev and Domingue.

A little over midway through the period, after Domingue made a tremendous save on Panarin, the Penguins took the lead thanks to an aggressive forecheck, leading to Danton Heinen beating Georgiev with a wrister to the short side, giving Pittsburgh the lead once again.

Down the stretch, the Rangers were desperately looking to knot things up, but the Penguins controlled the puck and the pace. With 2:24 left, the Rangers called a timeout and pulled Georgiev, but it was all for naught. Off the faceoff, the Penguins controlled the puck, and Jake Guentzel scored his fourth goal of the series, hitting the open net from inside his own blue line.

The Penguins added one more empty-netter from Carter, and they took a 2-1 series lead.

Highlights

What’s next

The pivotal Game 4 is set for Monday night in Pittsburgh, with the puck dropping at 7:00 p.m.