The Rink Report: Penguins defeated by Rangers in blowout

Written By Anthony Cugini, Sports Columnist

 The New York Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in shut-out fashion after they scored six goals. This is the second time in a row the Rangers have routed the Penguins.

It was never close —the Rangers scored their first goal of the night just five minutes into the game. From then on out, it was all New York.

Pens’ goaltender Tristan Jarry was abysmal. He looked lost as he allowed four goals on just 17 shots before he was yanked from the game in favor of Casey DeSmith. It was sad to see Jarry struggle as most Penguins fans have banked on him being a legit starting goalie.

For the time being it seems as though Pittsburgh fans will be thoroughly disappointed. Jarry has been taken out early in three out of his last six games. This isn’t just worrying for the Penguins — It’s a disaster. 

Jarry has been questioned more than a few times throughout his time in Pittsburgh. At first it was about his subpar playoff performances. Then it was if he was injury prone or not, as he struggled to stay healthy. Now who knows?

I’ll admit that it’s possible Jarry has been playing injured. Since coming back from injury on February 20th, Jarry has recorded a 4-4 record and a .863 save percentage. These numbers are bad. Really bad.

Considering how good Jarry looked before his injury, it isn’t unreasonable to suggest that  Jarry never fully recovered and has been playing banged up since his return. Even if this is the case there are still questions that need to be answered.

Is Jarry truly injury prone? If the answer is yes the Penguins need to look for a new netminder. The Pens can’t afford to only have their starting goalie for half of the season, especially with an inconsistent backup like Casey DeSmith. Now don’t get me wrong, DeSmith isn’t a bad goalie, he’s just not a guy who should start over 30 games a season.

After Pittsburgh’s embarrassing loss in the Big Apple, the Pens have now dropped three straight games. If they want to have any chance of making the playoffs, Jarry will need to figure things out in goal. If his struggles continue, the Penguins’ 16-year playoff run could be in danger.

Pittsburgh currently sits in the second Wild Card spot, just two points behind the New York Islanders. On the bright side, the Penguins have played two less games than the Isles. 

The Pens’ schedule doesn’t get much easier as they take on the Senators on Monday before playing a back-to-back against two very good Western Conference opponents.

On Wednesday, Pittsburgh will travel to Colorado to play the defending champion Avalanche. After a game that’s sure to be a little stressful, the Pens will then head to Dallas to take on the Central Division leading Stars.

No one ever said making the playoffs was easy. The Penguins are making this quite apparent as they keep us Pens fans on the edge of our seats night after night.