Rangers fall short to Penguins in 2-1 shootout loss

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Marc-Andre Fleury helped the Pittsburgh Penguins steal a point (or two?) on Friday night, stopping 34 out of 35 shots in a 2-1 shootout win against the New York Rangers. That intense game could be costly for both teams, though.

James Neal looked groggy and glassy eyed after a third period hit by Michael Del Zotto. Meanwhile, there’s a chance Henrik Lundqvist might have tweaked something while stopping an Evgeni Malkin shootout attempt.

(Lundqvist stayed in net and made more saves, but cameras caught him grimacing, opening up questions about a possible groin pull.)

The Rangers dominated large chunks of play, out-shooting the Penguins 35-27 overall (including 14-4 in a heated third period).

Fleury was game, though, and that makes things uncomfortable for Pittsburgh’s division rivals. The Rangers moved back ahead of the New York Islanders for seventh place with 40 points, but that extra point could have been handy in holding off the likes of the New Jersey Devils (39 points in 37 games played), Winnipeg Jets (38 points in 39 GP) and Philadelphia Flyers (37 points in 37 GP).

Things could really be interesting if these two would-be contenders meet in what few would have expected would be an opening round clash. The Rangers still have a way to go before they can guarantee a seventh or eighth seed, though.