FINAL SCORE: New York Rangers – 5 Pittsburgh Penguins – 1
SERIES SCORE: New York Rangers – 2 Pittsburgh Penguins – 3
FIRST PERIOD: After game four, Brad Richards and Henrik Lundqvist were quoted in the post game comments saying “this series is not yet over.” If they wanted to hold a candle of validity in that statement, they had to come out in this game and get off to a great start. What the Rangers needed was to play with desperation, and in this period they did just that. The opening shift was spent in the Penguins zone with both defense-man pinching in to help out the offense. Brian Boyle and Rick Nash both had chances that escaped a yawning net mouth and had the crowd gasping. Almost halfway through the period Robert Bortuzzo took a penalty and the dreaded Rangers power play went to work. After nine games and 36 scoreless power plays, Chris Kreider broke through and scored a power play goal to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. After continuing to push the pace Benoit Pouliot took a tripping penalty but the Rangers penalty kill managed to kill it off. With just under five minutes left in the period Mats Zuccarello took a shot and Marc-Andre Fleury let out a rebound that was tapped into the net by Derick Brassard to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. As the period came to its end the Rangers were up 17(two more than the amount of shots they had overall in game four)-9 in shots, and 2-0 in goals.
SECOND PERIOD: Second period is as second period does, and this period has been a problem for the Rangers this entire post season, the Penguins came out and pushed back against New York and wanted to show the first period was no sign of the game. Who better to do that three minutes in then Evgeni Malkin? Malkin literally danced through Marc Staal and Dan Girardi and scored on his own rebound to cut the Rangers lead in half. The Penguins were dominating the period and Lundqvist was keeping the Rangers in the game. However four and a half minutes after the Malkin goal Brassard and Zuccarello went up the ice and pressured Fleury, Brassard got his own rebound and regained the two goal lead for the Rangers. Less than a minute later the Penguins took a too many men penalty and Ryan McDonagh registered his first goal of the playoffs with a blast from the point to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead and their second power play goal of the game. At 17:34 gone by in the period Brassard took a slashing penalty, and 40 seconds late Girardi took a holding penalty. The first penalty was killed off with a beautiful block by Brian Boyle in the final seconds but the Rangers will start the third frame down a man for a little under 30 seconds. The Rangers led the Penguins 4-1 at the end of this period, were out-shot 15-9 in the period but had the advantage 26-24.
THIRD PERIOD: This third period meant frustration for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the lack of discipline showed through. They continued to engage in scraps with the Rangers and while most of the penalties were coincidental the Rangers were up by three. At 6:14 Dominic Moore and Kris Letang took matching penalties, 30 seconds later Malkin took a penalty that led to a 4 on 3 that the Rangers did not capitalize on. At 12:16 Moore again took a penalty this time his dueling partner was Brian Gibbons. At 14:07 John Moore took two penalties and the Penguins were sent to the power play. After all the penalties were over, Kevin Klein scored an empty net goal with a little over two minutes left to seal the deal. The Rangers managed to fight off elimination and will head to Madison Square Garden for game six on Sunday night at 7pm. The Rangers ended the game up in shots 35-32.
P.S. With the news of Martin St. Louis‘ mother passing away, you have to imagine the emotion he went through playing the entire game. Hats off to him and Blue Line Station sends its condolences to the St. Louis family.