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.
Polar Bears’ comeback falls short
They say it’s not about how you start. Rather, it’s how you finish that matters.
The Fairmont Senior girls’ basketball team was a prime example of this Friday night against Morgantown. Well. .. almost.
Through the first 10 minutes of the contest, the Polar Bears looked flustered, frustrated and flat-out overmatched against the Class AAA opponent.
FURFARI COLUMN: Jerry West merits credit for Warriors’ jump in NBA
If you follow the National Basketball Association action, you’ll note that the Golden State Warriors are faring very well.
And for such significant improvement, you’ve got to give much of the credit, I’m told, to the legendary Jerry West — the greatest basketball player in West Virginia University’s history.
Falcons home to face West Virginia State
The Mountain East Conference schedule is heating up for Fairmont State.
Two days after traveling to the University of Charleston, the Falcons are back in action today against another MEC foe in West Virginia State.
Bridgeport beats Wayne for state title
Anthony Caldera rushed for two first-half touchdowns and Bridgeport beat Wayne 14-13 in the Class AA championship game in snowy conditions Friday night at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Caldera finished with 107 yards rushing for second-seeded Bridgeport (13-1), which won its first championship since 2000 and its seventh overall.
Dreadful shooting costs WVU in 70-61 loss to Missouri
West Virginia University couldn’t get out of Columbia, Mo., fast enough Thursday night, but the predicted snow/ice/cold storm had far less to do with it than the storm the Missouri Tigers brewed up for them.
Lady Falcons rally past UC in OT
It took an extra five minutes ,but Fairmont State’s Lady Falcons accomplished their goal Thursday evening at the Eddie King Gymnasium.
FSU outscored the University of Charleston 12-9 in overtime to record a wild 78-75 Mountain East Conference victory.
Charleston holds off FSU, 75-71
An undermanned Fairmont State University men’s basketball team took the University of Charleston to the wire here Thursday night before falling 75-71 at the Eddie King Gymnasium.
The loss drops the Falcons to 5-2 overall and to 1-2 in the Mountain East Conference. Charleston, meanwhile, improved to 5-1 overall and to 2-1 in the league.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Days later Iron Bowl finish still shocking
In reality, Shelly Poe had thought she’d seen it all but she had no idea what was awaiting her.
There she was, down on the sideline, caught up in a thrilling renewal of the Auburn-Alabama rivalry, the score tied and regulation seemingly over when Alabama coach Nick Saban, a one-time West Virginia neighbor of hers, so to speak, got one second put on the clock.
Steelers, Dolphins look to find way in packed AFC
Mike Tomlin’s sideline two-step against Baltimore on Thanksgiving night did more than just earn the Pittsburgh Steelers coach a $100,000 fine and a smudge on his otherwise well-polished resume. It also overshadowed the perilous position his team found itself in after a 22-20 loss.
Cam Heyward stepping into leadership role for Steelers
Cam Heyward’s idea of a good time is grabbing his phone and returning to his childhood.
“Looney Tunes.” “Doug.” Pretty much any cartoon that ran on Nickelodeon in the 1990s and the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end is likely to pop in his ear buds and escape.
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