Penguins Finish Rangers in OT

The Pittsburgh Penguins finished off the season of the New York Rangers in overtime on Sunday as they beat them 3-2 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.  The Penguins will have the home ice advantage as they face the cross-state rival Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Championship series.  After carrying a 2-0 lead into the 3rd period, the Penguins gave up 2-quick goals to the New York Rangers to force the overtime period.  Marian Hossa scored the game winner in overtime, his 2nd goal of the night, to finish the series.  The Penguins extended their post-season record to 8-1.

In the 1st period, the Penguins outshot the Rangers 10-7 but neither team was able to score as both Henrik Lundqvist and Marc-Andre Fleury were perfect in net.  The Penguins went 0-for-1 on the powerplay and successfully killed off 2 penalties of their own.

The Penguins dominated the 2nd period of play, outshooting the Penguins 17-4 with the Rangers failing to register a shot during the final 14:50 of the period.  Early in the period, Chris Drury took an accidental stick to the face from Ryan Malone that opened up a gash on his cheekbone and covered the ice with blood.  Play was stopped while the ice was cleaned up, but no penalty was called as the referees missed the play.  Drury eventually returned to the game after recieving stitches.  At 8:45, the Penguins got on the board as Marian Hossa converted on the powerplay while Michal Rozsival sat for tripping.  Working from near the goal line, Sidney Crosby threw the puck to Ryan Malone at the center of the ice.  Faking the shot, Malone froze Lundqvist as he passed the puck to Marian Hossa on the weak side of the net.  Hossa then whipped the puck into the empty side for his 4th goal of the post-season.  At 12:40, Evgeni Malkin took a pass from Kris Letang in his own zone and carried it all the way down the ice.  Malkin tried to make a move around one of the Rangers’ defensemen, but the puck failed to go through.  Malkin stopped and turned onto his backhand and lifted the puck past Henrik Lundqvist to make it 2-0.  Ryan Whitney and Kris Letang picked up the assists on Malkin’s 6th goal and 14th-point of the post-season.  The Penguins finished the period 1-for-4 on the powerplay and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Five
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In the 3rd period, the Rangers scored two quick goals to get themselves right back in the game.  The first goal came at 2:03 as 2004 1st round pick and minor league callup Lauri Korpikoski managed to beat Marc-Andre Fleury, as he played in his first NHL game.  Michal Rozsival and Chris Drury were credited with the assists on the play.  Then, a little over a minute later at 3:25, Nigel Dawes connected on his 2nd goal of the playoffs to tie it 2-2.  Scott Gomez and Ryan Callahan picked up the assists on the play.  The Rangers continued to press through the remainder of the period and outshot the Penguins 11-7, but failed to get another one by Marc-Andre Fleury.  Late in the period, the Penguins were given an opportunity as Chris Drury took a 4-minute high sticking call at 18:42.  Despite a full court press, the Penguins failed to score in the time remaining in regulation and the game and powerplay time were extended into overtime. In overtime, the Penguins had the advantage of playing the first 2:42 with a man-advantage on freshly prepared ice.  Despite the advantage, the Rangers managed to kill off the remainder of Drury’s 3rd period double minor.  Play continued until 7:10, when Marian Hossa collected a deflected pass from Sidney Crosby and whipped it on net beating a stunned Henrik Lundqvist.  The goal, Hossa’s 2nd of the night and 5th of the playoffs, was assisted by Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis.  The game winner sent Penguins fans to their feet and players scrambling to join their team in celebration along the glass.  After a few minutes clustered around Hossa, the Penguins moved to center ice to partake in the traditional post-series handshakes with Rangers players.

Despite winning the series 4-1, the Rangers-Penguins matchup was closer than it would appear at first glance.  The Penguins will take away some good lessons from this series that should help them in the next round.  First, they had to overcome adversity and battle back from a 3-0 defecit in game 1 to beat the Rangers.  They managed to do so and came back in game 2 with a shutout.  They also had to battle back from a shutout loss to the Rangers in Game 4 by igniting their offense against one of the league’s best goaltenders.  Finally, the had to go into overtime and take back a game that they had led by 2-goals through 2-periods.  The New York Rangers put up a great battle, but in end the Penguins oppressive special teams performance and the stellar play of Marc-Andre Fleury sealed the deal for the Penguins.

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Five Image details: New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins – Game Five served by

The Penguins now head into the Eastern Conference Championship series against the Philadelphia Flyers who are on a roll after beating the #1 seeded Montreal Canadiens in 5-games.  The Penguins will have the home-ice advantage against the Flyers, and will be looking to turn around the great play of Martin Biron and RJ Umberger.  In the first all Pennsylvania Conference Final, this is setting up to be a classic series between two cross-state rivals that do not like each other.  We expect a hard-hitting, in your face style of play for this “Keystone Classic” series.  The winner takes all in the East and gets to move on to the Stanley Cup Championship Series against the Western Conference Champions.  It promises to be an excellent series.  Let’s Go Pens!!

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