The New York Rangers outlasted the Pittsburgh Penguins to advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after an overtime winner from Hagelin and Moore
Here’s how the game played out:
There wasn’t much to speak of after puck drop. Through the first four minutes, plenty of icings on both sides of the ice were present. Knowing the gravity of the game, neither team wanted to make the first mistake.
Even though the Rangers have had problems generating offense with the man-advantage in the previous four games, the team was able to jump start the special team unit. Derek Stepan was able to give the Rangers the early lead with a power play goal. Parked in front of Marc-Andre Fleury, Stepan scooped a rebound and got it past the Penguins netminder for his second of the series. Assists were credited to Dan Boyle (2), who put the initial shot on Fleury, and Derick Brassard (1).
After, the team appeared to feed off the momentum. However, the period ended with no further goals. Despite a second power play opportunity, the Rangers were unable to add to their lead.
Both team goalies showcased a couple of great stops when challenged. Fleury had stopped two great scoring chances on Mats Zuccarello and Rick Nash. On the other side, Henrik Lundqvist made a great stop on Evgeni Malkin. The period ended 12-6 with the Rangers up in shots.
One noticeable difference from the first four games of the series, there was not as much chippyness to the play on the ice. Both teams understood what was at stake and there wasn’t need to get into any extra-curricular activities.
A bit of bad news to come out of the period for the Rangers. Zuccarello was injured on a play, when he took a puck to the side of the head. He was seen going back to the locker room and did not return for the rest of the game.
New York Rangers
To open the period, the Penguins had over a minute of power play time, carried over from the first period. Fortunately, no damage was done.
With Zuccarello out of the rest of the game, St. Louis took his place on the top line with Rick Nash and Brassard.
With the Rangers buzzing around the Penguins net, Fleury came up big keeping his team in the game. If it were not for him, this game could have easily been lopsided.
On the opposite end, Lundqvist was equally as great. One sequence had a three-on-two scoring opportunity led by Sidney Crosby. As he put the shot on goal, two other Penguins players crashed their way to the net. In what was described as unhuman, Lundqvist stopped not one, not two, but at least three shots on the goal line, keeping the puck out of the net.
At 2:38, the Penguins tied the game at one. In a gritty play, a questionable goal held up for Nick Spaling giving him his first of the series. Assists were credited to Steve Downie (2) and Crosby (2).
The period ended with just 20 minutes left in regulation.
The third period started with the grimy play that fans have been use to seeing this series. Whether they were blatant or not, the desperation for the Penguins was shown.
The first was a missed high-sticking call on Chris Kunitz as his stick caught Nash in the throat, as they both battled for the puck. The second was a spear to Dan Girardi, who was protecting the puck. Crosby saw Girardi had it under his legs, and proceeded to joust at the defenseman while he was on the ice. Instead of being called for a penalty, Crosby drew one as he was knocked down by Girardi.
And with that, the chants of Crosby rained down from the Madison Square Garden crowd. Despite the teasing to the Penguins captain, the team was putting the pressure on the Rangers.
To counter, the Rangers took the action to Fleury and the Penguins with good puck possession in the later minutes of the period. A couple of looks were seen by Boyle, including an open net. However, he wasn’t able to take advantage and the score remained at one.
Regulation ended with additional time needed to determine the winner.
For the second consecutive game, the two teams needed additional minutes to settle the score.
After over ten minutes of up and down action by both teams, Carl Hagelin got one past Fleury and pushed the Rangers into the second round of the playoffs. Coming on the heels of relentless effort from veteran Dominic Moore, Hagelin took the puck to the front of the net and surprised the Penguins with a wrist shot which found its way past the glove side of the Penguins netminder. Assists were credited to Moore and Ryan McDonagh.
The Rangers await the winner of the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders series, which resumes tomorrow.
NHL Stars of the Game
– Carl Hagelin: game-winning goal, three shots, TOI- 21:33
– Henrik Lundqvist: 37 of 38 saves, save percentage- .974
– Marc-Andre Fleury: 34 of 36 saves, save percentage- .944
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