The Times West Virginian

Sports

April 6, 2013

Jokinen leads Pens to shootout win

PITTSBURGH — Jussi Jokinen certainly knows how to make an entrance.

The newly acquired Pittsburgh forward scored a goal in regulation in his debut and then added the only tally in the shootout as the Penguins edged the New York Rangers 2-1 on Friday night.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 shots and then stoned Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Callahan in the shootout as Pittsburgh snapped a two-game losing streak following a 15-game winning run.

Fleury was at the top of his game just two nights after he allowed all the goals in the Rangers’ 6-1 home victory over the Penguins.

Jokinen, acquired in a trade with Carolina just before Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline, beat Henrik Lundqvist with a wrist shot 32 seconds into the third period.

Nash’s 14th goal tied it with 4:49 remaining, but the Rangers couldn’t complete the sweep of the home-and-home series.

Lundqvist made 26 saves through overtime in his 500th NHL game but watched Jokinen flip the puck over his right arm in the first round of the shootout.

The Rangers, clinging to eighth place in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race, sent Pittsburgh to its worst loss of the season on Wednesday. New York was led then by newcomers Ryane Clowe, Derick Brassard and John Moore, who combined for eight points in their first game with New York after being picked up just hours earlier at the trade deadline.

There were no such offensive fireworks this time.

Instead, Lundqvist and Fleury dominated. While Lundqvist was typically efficient behind a New York defense that rarely let the Penguins get in deep, Fleury was busier as Pittsburgh — missing injured top defensemen Kris Letang and Paul Martin — had trouble keeping the Rangers from creating heavy traffic in front.

At one point in the second period, Fleury’s glove came off during a scramble. It slid behind the net as play continued in front of the Pittsburgh net. Fleury went down into his usual butterfly stance and flexed his bare hand when the Rangers managed to squeeze off a shot.

Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk Engelland blocked it while lying on the ice, and a linesman handed the glove back to Fleury as the Penguins raced the other way.

Jokinen gave the Penguins the lead when he skated to open space as Chris Kunitz controlled the puck behind the New York net. The shot was perfect, and Pittsburgh took its first lead in nearly a week.

The way Fleury was playing, it looked as though it would be enough.

Jokinen’s goal appeared to fire up the Rangers, who tilted the ice over the next five minutes. During one sequence, Nash fed Ryan Callahan, who spun around as he drove to the left post and sent a perfect no-look backhand pass across the crease to a hard-charging Derek Stepan.

Fleury jumped to his left, and the puck somehow went right into the webbing of his glove.

Fleury’s best stop came with 5 minutes to go when he lost his balance and fell on his backside as Brassard threw a shot from behind the net at Fleury’s legs. Fleury somehow managed to close his pads and keep the puck an inch short of the goal line even as Nash jabbed at it.

The save was upheld by video review, but Nash netted the tying goal off the ensuing faceoff. Stepan won the draw in the left circle and sent the puck right to Nash, who beat Fleury cleanly to send the very chippy game into overtime.

NOTES: The Rangers scratched D Roman Hamrlik and Matt Gilroy as well as F J.T. Miller. ... In addition to Crosby, the Penguins scratched forwards Dustin Jeffrey and Joe Vitale, and D Simon Despres. ... New York will play at Carolina on Saturday. ... The Penguins are off until Tuesday, when they travel to face the Carolina Hurricanes.

 

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