Through four post-season games, Phil Kessel had two goals and four points, but he came into Saturday’s elimination game flying.
With the Penguins having the opportunity to move into the second round with a Game 5 win over the New York Rangers, Kessel helped Pittsburgh draw even early with a nice pass to Carl Hagelin, but it was Kessel’s third goal of the playoffs that was most impressive.
Midway through the second period, Kessel sped down the right wing while the Penguins were on the power play and took a picture-perfect pass from Sidney Crosby mid-stride. Kessel’s speed had the Rangers defense turned by the time he received the pass, and with New York blueliner Marc Staal attempting to close off Kessel’s space by reaching in with a poke check, the Penguins winger rifled one of his signature shots: Read more
For the second time in eight days, Henrik Lundqvist had his start come to an abrupt end. But unlike Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers all-star goalie was yanked on Thursday due to performance.
Lundqvist’s Game 4 start lasted only 18 shots, and 26 minutes. He gave up four goals before he was pulled with the Rangers desperate for a boost. It didn’t work, and now the Rangers have to go to Pittsburgh for a must-win game on Saturday. The Penguins routed the Rangers 5-0 and head home with a 3-1 series lead.
Two teams in control of their respective series must soldier on without key contributors for at least one more game in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Dallas Stars center and second-leading regular season scorer Tyler Seguin will officially miss Game 5 against the Minnesota Wild as he continues to recover from his lacerated Achilles, reports Stars beat writer and THN correspondent Mike Heika. Seguin sustained the injury March 17 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and missed a month, returning only for Game 2 against Minnesota April 16.
Did Seguin aggravate his injury by returning too early last week? Not exactly, reports Heika. He asked coach Lindy Ruff and got the following answer: “Not his injury, but this is kind of related and might be kind of a fallout of all of the sudden playing at a high pace.”
Full marks to the Pittsburgh Penguins for winning Game 3 against the New York Rangers Tuesday night. Details here. But, sheesh, things might have gone differently had the referees caught defenseman Kris Letang’s dastardly act in the third period.
The Penguins led 2-1 at this point, so the Rangers surely could’ve used a power play, and they deserved to get one here. Check out the over-the-top slash from Letang on Rangers right winger Viktor Stalberg:
The conditions were perfect, in theory, for the New York Rangers to take over their Metropolitan Division semifinal matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night in Game 3. The Blueshirts were fresh off a convincing 4-2 victory over the Pens in Game 2. New York had captain Ryan McDonagh returning from a hand injury after missing the start of the post-season. And Pittsburgh was turning to Matt Murray, 21, for his first career playoff start in net.
But it wasn’t to be. Murray, an elite prospect ranked 39th overall in THN Future Watch, showed no signs of jitters in his first game back from a head injury. He challenged shooters and made a few tough saves early. His lone hiccup came on this downright pretty Rick Nash goal early in the second period:
First Ryan McDonagh, then Dan Girardi. The New York Rangers are living the “war of attrition” storyline that often dominates the Stanley Cup playoffs and they’re doing it right away. With those two regulars sidelined, the Rangers have called up defenseman Raphael Diaz from the AHL. When will he play?
Derick Brassard scored and added two assists and Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 29 shots as the New York Rangers evened the best-of-seven series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at 1-1 with a 4-2 win on Saturday.
With the Rangers trailing 1-0, Keith Yandle and Brassard scored 18-seconds apart in the second period. After Mats Zuccarello gave New York a 3-1 lead, Brassard set up Chris Kreider giving the visitors a 4-1 lead.
The Pittsburgh Penguins could not have wished a better Game 1 result into existence than what occurred Wednesday night versus the New York Rangers. The Pens won on home ice, Patric Hornqvist notched a hat trick, and captain Sidney Crosby exploded the highlight reels with a beautiful breakaway goal.
And between the pipes is where things really broke Pittsburgh’s way. Third-string goaltender Jeff Zatkoff was forced into duty for Game 1 with Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) and Matt Murray (head) unavailable. Zatkoff had a strong case for jitters considering he’d never played a minute of NHL playoff hockey before. To make matters worse, he’d start opposite future Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist.
But the adage, “that’s why they play the games” rang true Wednesday. Lundqvist lasted one period. A stick in the eye through his mask forced him out of the game after he returned briefly. Zatkoff was superb in the Pittsburgh net, turning aside 35 of 37 shots and making several bookmark-worthy saves.
Game 1 was a basket of puppies for the Penguins – and it creates a conundrum for Game 2. Starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury practised Friday and has a chance to return for Game 2. But have the Penguins suddenly gained the luxury of resting Fleury at least one more game, even if he’s cleared to play?