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.
Jussi Jokinen certainly knows how to make an entrance.
COLUMN: Extend summer practices without over-extending athletes
Last week we told you about a proposal that would extend the summer practice period for West Virginia high schools.
It’s already cleared the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Board of Control. Now it’s up to the West Virginia Board of Education to decide if the current three-week window should be expanded by five weeks.
Bussie looks forward to WNBA
On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball
It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.
Pirates finish off suspended game, fall in nightcap
Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole’s winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete
The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.
East can’t overcome No. 7 Lincoln, falls, 4-0
Thunder clouds weren’t the only thing looming over the East Fairmont (6-6) softball team Monday when the Lady Bees hosed No. 7 Lincoln. Joining the ominous clouds was a sense of urgency for energy that never showed up as Lincoln was able to shut out East Fairmont, 4-0.
Gyorko, Padres agree to extension
Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.
HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved
From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.
WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI
There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.
FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage
There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.
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