Rangers came into Pittsburgh and won on goals from Kreider and Hagelin, along with a strong defensive effort and improved all-around play on the ice
Here’s how the game played out:
As the game opened, Penguins fans were in full playoff mode as they hosted the New York Rangers. However, they did not seem phased by the home crowd.
Throughout the first three minutes, the team was able to move the puck quickly up and down the ice.
Despite getting the first power play of the game, the Rangers scoring drought with the man-advantage continued as they were not able to take advantage of a Penguins cross check to Tanner Glass.
At 11:17 of the period, the Rangers struck first in the goal column. As the Penguins were making a line change, Carl Hagelin scored his first goal of the playoffs, putting a slap shot in the five-hole of Marc-Andre Fleury. Assists were credited to Keith Yandle (3) and Dan Girardi (2).
One thing is for sure, the team looked comfortable on the ice, despite being the visitors. At the first commercial break of the game, the Rangers outshot the Penguins 6-0. And that was through 17 minutes.
However, the Rangers had their first real scare of the game. After the Penguins’ first power play, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a good scoring chance, but rang the puck off the far post.
The period ended with the Rangers up in shots 7-3, and the 1-0 lead over the Penguins.
New York Rangers
No penalties carried over from the first. Both teams started the period with clean slates.
The Rangers and Penguins both played a tight period. Neither was able to get loose for a scoring chance, early in the period.
The first penalty of the period was assessed at 11:03 to Penguins defenseman Paul Martin for cross-checking. This time the Rangers capitalized with the man-advantage. Coming off a wide shot from Marc Staal against the boards behind the net, Chris Kreider collected the rebound and put the puck past Fleury on the his short-side, for his first of the series. Assists were credited to Staal (1) and Girardi (2), who has two points tonight after going scoreless in the first two games.
With less than two minutes left, Staal was called for interference on Patric Hornqvist, sending the Penguins to their second power play. However, they were not able to take advantage before the period ended.
The last 20 minutes of regulation opened with the Penguins on a :05 second power play.
If you were watching the NBCSN broadcast, they announced the Rangers , when leading after two periods, are 36-0-1 in the regular season. Also, the Rangers held the Penguins to their lowest shot total in a playoff game with 11.
If you expected the Rangers to their foot off the pedal, that was not the case. Despite playing conservatively and content with clearing the puck out of their zone, their forecheck stifled the Penguins forwards causing them to turn over the puck several times. As a result, time in the offensive zone for the Rangers and shots on Fleury.
And when the Penguins did have time with the puck, Henrik Lundqvist was there to answer the call, stopping 23 of 24 shots faced. Tonight, he made save after save and gave his team the boost of confidence they needed. With his goaltending and defensive pressure from the forwards and defensemen all game-long, they caused a frustrated night for the Penguins.
Despite those, the Penguins erased the goose egg and got on the board. Hornqvist scored his first goal of the playoffs coming at 6:48 of the period. Assists were credited to Sidney Crosby (1) and Ian Cole (2).
Suddenly, the Pittsburgh fans came alive and were brought back into the game.
The closing moments of the game were all Lundqvist; and, he rose to the occasion. Despite the chaos all around his crease, the puck never made it past him and the team took game three.
Game four will be Wednesday night.
NHL Stars of the Game
– Henrik Lundqvist: 23 of 24 saves, .958 save percentage
– Patric Honrqvist: one goal, six shots, TOI: 18:04
– Chris Kreider: one goal, TOI: 14:57
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