Penguins Come From Behind to Win Game 1

The Pittsburgh Penguins mounted an improbable come from behind win on Friday night as they overcame a 3-0 deficit midway through the game and beat the New York Rangers 5-4.  After falling behind 3-0 early in the 2nd period, the Penguins came alive and scored 4 unanswered goals before giving up a tying goal at the mid-point of the 3rd period.  But a late penalty to the New York Rangers created an opportunity for the Penguins that they seized for the game winner with just 1:41 left in the game.  The win gives the Penguins a 1-0 lead over the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final series.  The phenomenal come from behind win by the Penguins also provides them with momentum going into game 2 on Sunday at Mellon Arena. 

The Penguins came out skating strong in the 1st period and dominated much of the play but failed to convert on two early power play opportunities.  After weathering 2 penalty kills, however, the Rangers seized the momentum at 13:40 by scoring on the power play as Ryan Whitney sat for a high sticking call.  Martin Straka notched his 2nd goal of the post-season with assists by Jaromir Jagr and Michal Rozsival.  The Penguins outshot the Rangers 9-7 in the 1st period, were 0-for-3 on the power play, and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.

In the 2nd, the Penguins fell further behind as the Rangers notched two quick goals in the first 4-minutes of the period.  The first came at 1:52 as Chris Drury tipped in a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury.  Marc Staal and Nigel Dawes picked up the assists on the play.  The shot appeared to be knocked in by Drury with a high stick redirection, but the video review was inconclusive and the goal was allowed to stand.  Then at 3:37, perennial pest Sean Avery laced a shot to the corner that eluded Marc-Andre Fleury and took the air out of Mellon Arena.  Marc Staal and Michal Rozsival got the assists.  However, Avery’s animated post-goal celebration may have ignited a spark of motivation on the Penguins bench.  As if to mimmick Avery’s previous rule generating antics against New Jersey, Jarkko Ruutu started a subsequent shift by holding the tip of his stick blade in the face of Michal Rozsival during the face off.  After a stern warning by the ref, the puck was dropped and Jarkko Ruutu took the puck up ice and rebounded it into the net off from Rozsival’s shin pads.  Jordan Staal and Brooks Orpik picked up the assists.  Ruutu’s goal was just the spark that the Penguins needed to ignite the fire.  Just 14-seconds later, Pascal Dupuis took a picture perfect pass from Sidney Crosby and blasted it past Lundqvist to make it 3-2.  Shots in the 2nd were even at 9 a piece.  The Penguins were 0-for-1 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.     

In the 3rd, the Penguins continued their comeback by notching their 3rd and 4th unanswered goals.  The first came from an impossible angle at 4:40 from Marian Hossa, his 2nd goal of the post-season.  Standing on the goal line, Hossa threw the puck on net from the sideboards and threaded the needle through the skates of a Rangers player and deflecte it into the net.  Rob Scuderi and Ryan Malone picked up the assists.  Then 20-seconds later, Petr Sykora wristed another one past Lundqvist to give the Penguins the 4-3 advantage.  Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Malone were given assists on the play.  At 10:04, the Rangers pulled even as Scott Gomez one-timed a Jaromir Jagr pass from behind the net.  Michal Rozsival got the other assist on the play.  But the Penguins were given the golden opportunity at 16:40 as Martin Straka was assessed with an interference penalty and sent to the box for 2-minutes.  With 21-seconds left on the power play, Sidney Crosby one-timed a shot on net that deflected off from Evgeni Malkin’s leg and into the net to make it 5-4.  The play was reviewed and confirmed that the puck wasn’t kicked in.  Ryan Whitney picked up the other assist.  The Rangers pulled their goalie in teh final minute of play, but were unable to beat Fleury again, despite one getting by him and hitting the post.  Shot were again even in the 3rd at 8, and the Penguins went 1-for-1 on the power play.

Sidney Crosby had 2 assists, Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist and Ryan Malone had 2 assists.  Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 of 24 shots on goal.  Jaromir Jagr failed to record a single shot on goal. 

The Penguins host the New York Rangers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals at 2PM on Sunday. 

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