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Penguins Tie Series With 4-3 victory in Game 2

Henrik Lundqvist appeared in his 94th playoff game.

(AP / Mary Altaffer)

(AP / Mary Altaffer)


With a chance to take a 2-0 series lead on the Penguins, the NY Rangers resorted back to their old ways and let the game slip away from them and the series is tied at 1-1. Dating back to the 2011-12 season, the Rangers have started off a series with wins in the first two games just once, and that was last season against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Championship.

They did score first against the Penguins again, on a beauty of a shot from Derek Stepan on a good feed from J. T. Miller; but the Penguins were able to tie the score on a Power Play goal from Brandon Sutter on a call that should never have been called. Carl Hagelin was in hot pursuit of a Penguin and just tapped him with his stick, as the Pittsburgh player was falling down. And of course the refs blew his whistle. Was it a bogus call? It certainly was. But the Penguins were on the PP and they subsequently scored and threw the momentum squarely at Pittsburgh.

And before you knew it, Pitt scored again, as Sidney Crosby scored two goals before the second was over to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead, and new hope in the series.

The Rangers started off the third with fire and determination and went on the power play early and converted as Derick Brassard scored from in close on Marc-Andre Fleury. The Blueshirts almost evened it up on another Power Play, as the Penguins continued taking stupid penalties. This time however, Derek Stepan’s shot clanged off the post and another sequence in front had a spinning puck turn away from the goal line. Had either puck gone in, the Rangers would have tied the score at 3-3 and the Penguins would have been on their heels.

But alas, the Penguins went on a power play soon after that and Chris Kunitz was able to score the fourth Pittsburgh goal of the game, on a rebound shot that sailed over Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers did score with just about five seconds left, as Rick Nash joined the scoring list, but it turned out to be too little, too late.

Were the Broadway Blueshirts out played in this game, not by much. It came down to a game of inches, as the Penguins got to some pucks and the Rangers did not. Was their some luck involved in a few of the Pittsburgh goals, yes. A flick of the stick was all that set up another goal. If it was not completed, no goal. So yes, the Penguins were just a bit better and just a bit luckier than the Blueshirts on Saturday night.

The Series now shifts to Pittsburgh, as the Penguins will now play in front of their home crowd for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday, before the Series returns to MSG on Friday.

The Rangers won 27 games on the road this season, to lead the NHL and set a new record for themselves. Let us see if they can up that record from 27 to 29.



NYR: Derek Stepan Assisted by J.T. Miller & Ryan McDonagh

PITT: Brandon Sutter (PPG) Assisted by Steve Downie & Chris Kunitz

PITT: Sidney Crosby Assisted by Patric Hornqvist & Ian Cole

PITT: Sidney Crosby Assisted by Chris Kunitz & Paul Martin

NYR: Derick Brassard (PPG) Assisted by Mats Zuccarello & Keith Yandle

PITT: Chris Kunitz (PPG) Assisted by Brandon Sutter & David Perron

NYR: Rick Nash Assisted by Derek Stepan & Dan Boyle


Team Stats                              PITT                              NYR

Shots on Goal                         22                                  26

Power Play                              2 for 4                           1 for 7

Hits                                         21                                  25

Giveaways                              4                                    13

Takeaways                              6                                    9

Face Off Wins                        29                                  29

Blocked Shots                         20                                  7


Goalie Stats:

Marc-Andre Fleury: 23 Saves on 26 Shots for a SV% of .885

Henrik Lundqvist: 18 Saves on 22 Shots for a SV% of .818


3 Stars of the Game:

3rd Star: Brandon Sutter: 1 Goal and 1 Assist

2nd Star: Chris Kunitz: 1 Goal and 2 Assists

1st Star: Sidney Crosby: 2 Goals


Broadway Bits:


Derek Stepan had a goal and an assist, three shots on goal and posted a plus two rating in 21:20 of ice time

Derick Brassard scored a Power Play goal, tied for a game-high in Face Off Wins with 13, Face Off Win % (62%) (13 for 21), had two takeaways and posted a plus one rating in 19:46 of ice time

Rick Nash had a goal, three shots on goal and posted a plus one rating in 18:11 of ice time

Ryan McDonagh had an assist and four hits in a game-high of 26:25 of ice time

Mats Zuccarello had a Power Play assist and three shots on goal in 17:33 of ice time

Keith Yandle had a Power Play assist, two takeaways and two shots on goal in 16:45 of ice time

J.T. Miller had an assist and three hits in 13:16 of ice time

Dan Boyle had his first playoff assist/point as a NYR, had two takeaways, two shots on goal and two blocks in 23:01 of ice time

Henrik Lundqvist appeared in his 94th playoff game as a NYR, breaking the record held by Walt Tkaczuk (who still holds the record for skaters only)

Dan Girardi had five hits and three blocks in 20:20 of ice time. Dan is now two games away from the playoff game record of 93 held by Walt Tkaczuk for skaters only on the NYR


From The Locker Room:


Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers head coach


On the power play…


“Obviously 1 for 7 isn’t good enough.  They scored two, we only got one.  We were better in the third, I thought, on the power play, but they ended up making us pay.”


On tonight’s game…


“The first (period) was hard fought, there wasn’t a lot of room. We came out with a lead.  They were able in the second to capitalize on a couple of our mistakes and take a two goal lead.  In the third, I thought we had a good push, but again, we took a penalty 200 feet from our own net and they made us pay for it.”


On the play of Sidney Crosby…


“He’s a great player.  The best players in the NHL are going to get some looks and he got some looks tonight.”


  • Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers goaltender


On tonight’s game…


“I don’t think we gave him (Crosby) that much space, it was just they were better today at getting in front of the net and getting to loose pucks.  It’s kind of how they beat us on a couple rebounds there.  Obviously on the first one (goal), nobody knew where the puck was.  I still think we did a pretty good job of not giving their top guys too much room, but it was just a matter of battling in front of the net – our net and their net.  They were pretty good at getting to the loose pucks.”


On the series…


“They’re a really good team; we knew that going into this series.  We can’t just look at what they did the last couple weeks of the season.  They are a strong team and they had a great season, for the most part.  We knew they were going to come into this with more energy.  They have some really skilled players, you have to respect that.  There are a couple things we can talk about and try to do better and go to Pittsburgh and try to get one on Monday.”


  • Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers defenseman/captain


On special teams…


“It’s a fine line obviously. You have to control your emotions, control your stick and your hands, and keep your feet moving a lot out there. Give them [Pittsburgh] credit, they were able to capitalize on their power plays, obviously more than us. We could have really taken the game over there with the power play opportunities. Definitely, I think penalty killing wise, we want to be stronger there. It’s been a big strength of ours throughout the season and a big reason why we made it to the playoffs. We have to find a way to get back to our right reads there on the penalty kill.”


On tonight’s game…


“We didn’t spend enough time in their zone, like we did in the first game. We weren’t as sharp with the puck coming out of our zone. They were a lot more aggressive and it took us a while to find our strength of using our legs. We didn’t quite get to our fore checking and offensive zone play nearly as much as we’d like. So the rink was kind of cut in half a little bit for them at times.”


  • Rick Nash, New York Rangers forward


On the power play…


“I think we have to look at ourselves first and we have to get the job done. If we aren’t getting the job done (even strength), we have to get a huge momentum off the power play and the individuals that are on that (power play) have to be a lot better.”


More on the power play…

“I think we were maybe over-passing a bit tonight.  It didn’t seem like we were getting enough looks, enough shots there in the shot lanes, and we weren’t working to get through the shot lanes and get the shots on net.”


  • Derek Stepan, New York Rangers forward/alternate captain


On tonight’s game…


“My comment on the power play tonight is we have a group of guys that have frustrated themselves and we just have to go out and get some good mo-jo going and find a way to pop a couple in and relax a little bit on it. We’ve got a lot of guys who are gripping the stick and there’s no need for that, especially now. We need to get some positive energy on it, zip it around, and make some plays.”


On going into Pittsburgh…


“It’s important in the playoffs to make sure that you can play in a home building and in a road building. Like I said, we have to make sure we get ourselves refocused and get ourselves ready for game 3.”


  • Mike Johnston, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach


On his team…


We’re still searching for good offensive output, but without giving up anything defensively. Obviously the guy to put with Sid [Sidney Crosby] is Kuni [Chris Kunitz], because he’s played with him before and there is some comfort there. We flip flopped the wingers with [Daniel] Winnik and Geno [Evgeni Malkin] to start the game. Obviously we try to bump guys around but generally we stuck with those lines. I think Kuni had a good game overall. Certainly he scored but that second power play unit was really effective when they were out there. It’s nice to see that unit starting to contribute under a lot of pressure.”


More on his players…

“The key to the game tonight was our four centers, Sid [Sidney Crosby] and Geno [Evgeni Malkin] had great games on both sides of the ice. Then you look at LaP [Maxim Lapierre] and Sutts [Brandon Sutter]. They are primary penalty killers so the job they did on the penalty kill and then the job they did in their own zone [was good].  Our centers are really key to our breakouts and getting out zone clean. I thought that those four guys they deserve a lot of credit for how we played and how we got out of our zone real quick. But the two penalty killers, Sutter and Lapierre were really good tonight.”


  • Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins forward/captain


On the penalty kill…


“Our penalty kill did a great job. It’s not that easy to have that many in a game, especially a playoff game. I thought all the killers did a great job. We had a couple of guys go in there that don’t typically go in. We try not to make any mistakes. They [the Rangers] do such a great job; you just try to make sure to do your job when you are out there.”


On the team’s confidence…


“It’s good to get rewarded. Sometimes in the playoffs you play well and you don’t always get the result that you want. I thought we continued from the end of last game. I thought we were more aggressive towards the end of the last game and we proved that here tonight.”


  • Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender


On the team gaining confidence…


“The first one was a tough loss, but nobody was too down about it, [nobody was] too low. We knew we could hang with them and I thought tonight was a good 60-minute game and we played solid.”


On avoiding going down 2-0 in the series…


“They [the Rangers] are a good team and it would be tough for us if we went down two games. I thought we had a solid third period last game and we brought it again today. We played a full 60-minute game. We hung in there, found a nice way to get some goals, and it felt nice to get that win.”

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