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Penguins Push Rangers to the Brink – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Push Rangers to the Brink

Paced by two-point efforts from superstars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, the Penguins outclassed the fading New York Rangers, 4-2, on Wednesday night to grab a commanding 3-1 lead in their second-round series. Despite losing defenseman Brooks Orpik late in the first period to an apparent knee injury, the black and gold limited the Rangers to 15 shots on goal.

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“We played a very solid game for 60 minutes,” Marc-Andre Fleury said. “We didn’t give them much.”

The Pens jumped to the early lead thanks to some great teamwork by the “Two-Headed Monster.” Malkin cruised into the Rangers’ zone and found Crosby with a crisp cross-ice pass in the left circle. Sid’s return pass glanced off the skate of Marc Staal to Malkin, who whipped a blind backhander past Henrik Lundqvist on the short side.

New York finally solved Fleury at 5:30 of the second period on a nice individual effort from Carl Hagelin. The speedy Swede burst between Matt Niskanen and Rob Scuderi and beat Fleury to the glove side, ending a Rangers goalless skein that stretched back to Game 1.

Malkin drew a tripping penalty in the offensive zone late in the period, placing Mike Lange’s proverbial turkey squarely on the table for New York. But the Rangers turned the puck over in the neutral zone, leading to Brian Gibbons’ shorthanded breakaway. The hustling winger fanned on his shot, but Brandon Sutter beat Ryan McDonagh to the loose puck and flipped it over a prone Lundqvist for the Pens’ third shorty of the postseason.

Seven minutes into the final period Jussi Jokinen extended his points streak to eight games when he struck for an insurance tally. Jokinen swung behind the Rangers’ net, curled to his forehand and unleashed a sharp-angle shot from below the left circle that hit Staal and deflected in. It was the crafty veteran’s sixth goal of the playoffs, tying him with ex-Ranger (and current King) Marian Gaborik for the postseason lead.

The Rangers closed the gap to 3-2 on a nifty goal by Mats Zuccarello at 13:07. However, the Pens countered 57 seconds later when Malkin circled behind the net and fed Chris
Kunitz
, who was left unattended in the slot. “Kuny” whipped the puck past Lundqvist to take the starch out of the Rangers.

*Be sure to check out Rick Buker’s books,
 
available at TriumphBooks.com, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com

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4 Comments

  1. Travis's Gravatar Travis
    May 8, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Rick,

    This post season is eerily starting to remind me of last years season. Hard 1st round match up, easy 2nd round and then bam, Bruins run the Penguins right over in the conference finals.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      May 8, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Hey Travis,

      Yes, there certainly are similarities to last season’s playoffs. But this year’s team is:
      — Jelling at just the right time;
      — A good fit for Dan Bylsma’s system, and vice versa;
      — Showing a lot of resilience, character and mental toughness;
      — Playing good defense and getting good goaltending.

      Maybe more than anything else, there’s an indefinable “something” about this team that suggests that they may, indeed, be primed for a Cup. Not to jinx them, but I remember having the same sense about the team back in ’91 and ’92.

      Having said that, I worry about a matchup with Boston, too. But this is a different Penguins team. I don’t see us folding the way we did last year. Plus, I think Montreal is giving us a blueprint on how to beat them. And, there’s no guarantee the Bruins are going to get past the Habs. We may well have a Penguins-Canadiens (Bylsma-Therrien) matchup in the Conference Finals. Wouldn’t that be intriguing?

      PS—Are you Travis from Wright’s Gym?

      • Travis's Gravatar Travis
        May 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Yes it is me Rick! I would love to see a Bylsma vs Therrien in the conference finals! But I still think all roads to the cup lead through Boston.

        • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
          May 10, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

          Hey Travis,

          Good to hear from you, bud … :)

          You’re probably right about Boston. The Bruins showed a lot of heart and mental toughness in that 1-0 OT win over Montreal in Game 4.


            

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