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Sunday December 17 2017
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Pens unlucky in 4-3 loss to New York

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Pavel Buchnevich scored with 11:12 left in the game to cement the 4-3 New York win over the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.

In 60 minutes of strategic, skill-ridden hockey, sometimes it’s simply luck that lights the torch of success.

The Rangers boasted a ton of fortuitous magic Tuesday night, using every ounce of it in a game that broke the Penguins’ four-game winning streak.

Buchnevich scored the accidental game-winning goal at the 11:12 mark in the third period, putting a puck off of Kris Letang, which then floated over the glove of Tristan Jarry and into the net.

“We got a bad break on that goal,” explained Letang.  “I’m playing the pass for the guy going backdoor, it deflects on me and goes right top-shelf,”

Jarry, who finished stopping 25-of-29 shots on the night, explained what may have been the most- unluckiest goal in the rookie’s young pro career.

“It’s tough,” explained the netminder.  “It’s one of those unfortunate events where it goes off our own player.  I tried to do my best just to get up as quick as I could and get over it, and it just went past my head.”

Where one end could not catch a break, goalie Ondrej Pavelec corralled all the luck in PPG Paints Arena, watching five shots connect with the posts and crossbar, including an Evgeni Malkin one-timer that somehow punched both posts without finding the back of the net with just over three minutes left in the game.

“We had tons of chances,” Letang said.  “It’s just one of those nights that went their way.”

Pavelec stopped 41-of-44 shots. 

“The Rangers are a patient team, they are a counter-attack team, and they wait for you to make mistakes, and then they want to take advantage of it” said Mike Sullivan.  “We’ve got to make sure that we limit those types of mistakes, and just recognize when we got to make the simple plays.  I thought as the game went on our team got better.  The third period might have been our best.”

One of those mistakes came late in the second period, when a Mats Zuccarello shot was initially stopped by Jarry, but somehow sifted through the goalie’s five-hole and into the net, giving the Rangers a 3-2 lead.

“I was trying to find it, and I didn’t know quite where it was,” said Jarry of the goal.  “I guess it was just trickling through my body still.  I tried to find it, and it trickled in.”

Thanks to the incendiary work of the first two lines, the Pens kept things close, grabbing a game-tying,   man-advantage goal with 16 minutes left in the game, when Patric Hornqvist (11) ripped a wrister past the glove of Pavelec on a breakaway finish off the cross-ice pass from Malkin.

Malkin finished as one of the brighter bulbs for the Pens in the losing effort, checking in with the assist and five shots on the night, while maintaining a consistent two-way flow.

“I thought he was really good,” said Sullivan of Geno.  “He was a threat almost every shift that he was on the ice he was around the puck.  He hits the post late in the game.  He thought it was in the net.  We all thought it was in the net.  I thought he was really good.  He was driven.  You could see his compete level.  When he plays like that, he is hard to handle.”

Conor Sheary scored his ninth goal of the season with five minutes left in the first period, opening the scoring for the game.  Phil Kessel punched the back of the net for his 13th of the season midway through the second. 

Injury Report

Justin Schultz went down in late the first period after joining a collision between Steve Nash and Ian Cole.  The defenseman returned to start the second period, but exited shortly after, never returning again.

“He’s out with a lower-body injury.  He’ll be further evaluated tomorrow,” explained Sullivan post-game of the extent of the injury.

After the moneyline

Pittsburgh lost as -180 heavy chalk favorites, marking just the third time this year the team lost at juice of -180 or higher.

The Penguins have gone over in five of the last seven games (pushed in 5-1 win vs Buffalo.)

Up next

The Penguins will look to bounce back when the squad hosts the Islanders Thursday night.  Puck drops at 7 PM.

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