Sidney Crosby Scores Two to Equal Gretzky Mark, Penguins Defeat Rangers 5-2 | 4/1/2024

Photo via Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins visited the New York Rangers to attempt to end their five-game win streak, and they did with a 5-2 score. Pittsburgh came out strong in the first period with a 2-0 score to head into the second, kept that 2-0 lead through the middle frame, and finished off the game with a huge two points. Both Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust scored two goals in the Penguins’ win, and Emil Bemstrom scored a beauty on a breakaway. Crosby made history, reaching a milestone only one other player has held… he tied Wayne Gretzky with 19 consecutive point-per-game seasons in NHL history. The Penguins will meet the Devils in New Jersey on Tuesday to try to make a comeback as their recent game against the Devils did not end so well for them, taking a 5-2 loss.

Penguins lineup against the Rangers:

O’Connor – Crosby – Rust

Bunting – Malkin – Rakell

Smith – Eller – Puustinen

Puljujarvi – Carter – Bemstrom

Joseph – Letang

Pettersson – Karlsson

Shea – St. Ivany

Nedeljkovic

Jarry

Rangers lineup against the Penguins:

Kreider – Zibanejed – Roslovic

Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere

Brozinski – Wennberg – Kakko

Cuylle – Goodrow – Vesey

Miller – Trouba

Lindgren – Fox

Jones – Schneider

Shesterkin

Quick

   Bryan Rust wanted that early lead for the Penguins when he put them on the board just 18 seconds into the opening period. He recorded his 25th goal of the season, as well as his eighth goal in the past 10 straight games when he scored off the rebound of Sidney Crosby’s shot from the left circle. At 9:21, Crosby added to Pittsburgh’s lead to make it 2-0 with his 36th of the season after he deflected in a point shot from Pierre-Olivier Joseph. Crosby’s goal had been called for offside when Peter Laviolette challenged it, however, it wasn’t successful and the 2-0 lead remained.

   In the second period, Mika Zibanejad seemed to score, but the goal had been disallowed because of the interference against Nedeljkovic by Chris Kreider. The Penguins made sure to hold their lead and didn’t allow the Rangers to score throughout the remainder of the middle frame. Through the first two periods, Alex Nedeljkovic made a total of 21 saves.

   Emil Bemstrom extended the Penguins’ lead to 3-0 at 10:09 of the final frame. After a turnover at Pittsburgh’s blue line, he scored on a breakaway. Cutting into the lead to 3-1, Kaapo Kakko scored his 12th goal of the season to finally get New York on the board. However, Kakko’s goal had to be reviewed after Alex Nedeljkovic stopped his one-timer, but it was determined the puck had crossed the goal line. Jack Roslovic scored later into the third at 3:07 to make it 3-2, but Bryan Rust struck the empty net to put the Penguins up 4-2 soon after. With 44.3, Sidney Crosby put the cherry on top when he scored an empty-netter for the 5-2 final. This marked his 13th point in his five-game point streak (four goals, nine assists).

Sidney Crosby on tying Gretzky, his empty-netter, and the win overall: “That’s cool – Obviously, something that I didn’t want to talk about. I knew it was getting closer, and anytime you can be in that company, it’s pretty cool,” – “With the extra man, I think we’re all just trying to protect the middle. I think it was Panarin who was trying to get a shot through, and I was able to block… I had some room there to take it down and put it in – It’s huge. I think we all know the circumstances so, nobody’s going to feel sorry for us and you got to find ways during times like these where you have last-minute guys in and out, whatever we got to do to get wins. So, that was a great team win and something that, hopefully, we can build off of.”

Notes:

– This season, Sidney Crosby has a total of 82 points (37 goals, 45 assists), adding to his total NHL career stats (1,584 points; 587 goals, 997 assists) through his 19 seasons in 1,264 games.

  Crosby is only three assists away from 1,000 career assists… He is also the only active player, currently, in the NHL with 100+ points against at least three franchises (Philadelphia Flyers, and both the New York Islanders and New York Rangers.

– Alex Nedeljkovic made 28 saves for Pittsburgh, and Igor Shesterkin made 15 saves for New York.

  Nedeljkovic is 4-0-2 with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in the past seven games.

– The New York Rangers are three points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division, and one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for first in the league.

– Artemi Panarin’s assist on Kaapo Kakko’s goal made him pass Mark Messier for sole possession of the third-most points in a single season in New York Rangers history. In 75 games this season, Panarin has 108 points (44 goals, 64 assists)… Jaromir Jagr is first with 123 points in the 2005-06 season.

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