After winning their first 7-games, the Pittsburgh Penguins lost their first of the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs to the New York Rangers on Thursday night 3-0. The Penguins put 29 shots on goal but were stymied at every chance by the stellar play of Henrik Lundqvist, who picked up his second career playoff shutout. At the other end of the ice, Marc-Andre Fleury had a very strong night in net as he stopped 31-of-33 shots. The final Rangers goal was scored on the empty net. The loss sends the series back to Pittsburgh on Sunday with the Penguins owning the 3-1 advantage.
In the 1st, the Penguins outshot the Rangers 8-6 in a tightly played defensive period. The Penguins went 0-for-2 on the powerplay and successfully killed off their only penalty, a holding call on Marian Hossa.
In the 2nd period, Jaromir Jagr put the Rangers on the board, scoring his 4th goal of the post-season at 12:45. Brandon Dubinsky and Fedor Tyutin picked up the assists on the play. Right after he released the puck, Jagr was flattened by Brooks Orpik and he lay on the ice for a few moments before being helped up by the trainer. Late in the period, the Penguins had an excellent chance to even the score. Evgeni Malkin had raced in on a breakaway, but he was hauled down and drove Lundqvist and the puck into the Rangers net. A video review was inconclusive as to whether the puck went into the net before it came off from its moorings, so there was no goal allowed. However, Malkin was awarded the penalty shot. Malkin came in very slow on the 1-on-1, moving the puck back and forth before wristing a shot that Lundqvist stopped easily on the glove hand. Taking advantage of 3-powerplay opportunities, the Rangers outshot the Penguins 11-9 in the period.
In the 3rd period, the Rangers struck at 0:44 on a carryover hooking penalty from the 1st period to Petr Sykora to make it 2-0. Brandon Dubinsky scored the goal from Martin Straka and Jaromir Jagr. With a 2-goal lead, the Rangers increased their defensive stance and further frustrated the Penguins offense. At 13:32, both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby found themselves in the box for roughing after exacting retalliation on Daniel Girardi for what appeared to be a legal hit on Marian Hossa. It was at that point that Michel Therrien looked like he knew they would lose this game. The Penguins trailed by 2 through 19:46 of the period when the Rangers scored a powerplay empty net goal while Pascal Dupuis sat for high sticking and Marc-Andre Fleury rested at the bench. The game ended with pushing and shoving along the boards, but no real fight. The Penguins were outshot by the Rangers 17-12 in the final frame.
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The Penguins, having stolen one game while in New York, will try to finish up the series again on Sunday and send the Rangers golfing.
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