The kids may be all right, but the Rangers need their veterans to win.
Coming off a game in which their young core carried the team to at least one point in a shootout loss to the Penguins, the Rangers finally got some contributions from their veteran group, but not nearly enough as they fell 3-2 to the same team Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins, once again, came from behind as they registered third-period goals from Jared McCann and Jake Guentzel.
For the second-straight game, the 20-year-olds were the only players keeping the Rangers competitive. Rookie defenseman K’Andre Miller set up his teammates on the rush and bodied Penguins star Sidney Crosby in the corners to keep the Rangers in the game.
Second-year defenseman Adam Fox extended his point streak to four games when his shot from the top of the zone was redirected in at 16:36 of the first period by fellow Harvard alum Colin Blackwell, who was promoted from the taxi squad earlier in the day to make his Rangers debut.
The new-look fourth line of Blackwell, Brett Howden and Kevin Rooney generated some of the Rangers’ most dangerous opportunities. The 21-year-old Filip Chytil was everywhere before he collided with Evan Rodrigues and left for the locker room in the second period.
Even though Ryan Strome registered his first point of the season when he flipped a bouncing puck in the crease over Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry to break a 1-1 tie at 17:17 of the second period, the Rangers simply needed more from their top six to pull out a win.
Igor Shesterkin turned aside 16 of the 19 shots he faced in his back-to-back start of the season.
The Rangers could’ve faltered, in the first period, as they have often this season, when Rodrigues registered the first shot on goal just 12 seconds into the game, forcing Shesterkin to make an early save. But they shrugged it off and came away with a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.
Bryan Rust managed to tie it up on a breakaway at 11:24 of the second period, his second goal in as many games against the Rangers.