Unpredictable Penguins look to even series against Rangers

The Sports Network
5/4/2014 10:47:10 AM
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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins hope to rebound from a loss in the opener of the Eastern Conference second round series when they host the rival New York Rangers in Sunday's Game 2 from CONSOL Energy Center.

New York placed second in the Metropolitan Division this season, finishing 13 points behind the Penguins, but the Rangers were able to strike first in this best-of-seven set, taking Game 1 by a 3-2 score in overtime.

Derick Brassard scored at 3:06 of the extra session to lift the Rangers to victory, although the end of the game was far from conventional.

Brassard knew he scored off a feed from Benoit Pouliot, but the game went on. Seconds later, with the Penguins still scrambling around in their zone, Brassard set up Pouliot for what appeared to be the winning goal.

However, the original shot by Brassard was reviewed and showed the puck clearly going underneath the crossbar and inside the left post. Because the puck sprung back out so quickly, it wasn't evident that it was a good goal and play continued, albeit momentarily.

"It was all (Pouliot's) play," Brassard said. "First of all, he cut (off) the pass behind the net and right away he found me in front of the net. At first, I thought it went in. I thought it went under the bar and the ref said it wasn't in. The puck came back to me and (Pouliot) was open. It was a great feeling."

New York opened a playoff series with an OT win for the first time since Game 1 of the Patrick Division Finals on Apr. 17, 1986 at Washington .

The Blueshirts have won eight of the last 10 playoff series in which they won Game 1, including four of the last six playoff series in which they won Game 1 on the road.

Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves for the Rangers, including one on Lee Stempniak in the final 11 seconds of regulation.

New York won a Game 7 at home against Philadelphia on Wednesday to advance to the second round for the third consecutive year. The Flyers and Rangers had played Game 6 in Philly on Tuesday, so Friday's tilt was New York's third test in three different cities over the span of four days.

When the Rangers host Pittsburgh in Game 3 on Monday it will mark five games in seven days for New York.

Despite New York's recent workload and the fact that the Penguins had three days off ahead of Friday's opener, the home club was the team that looked flat for large stretches of Game 1.

"For whatever reason, we didn't come out hard enough," said Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby. "I thought those goals in the second definitely gave us a boost. I thought from there on we had some good chances. Pretty even after that."

Stempniak and James Neal scored second-period goals for Pittsburgh, which outshot the visitors by a 36-27 margin in the loss. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24-of-27 shots for the Pens after struggling at times during his team's first- round win over Columbus.

"They got the first one tonight. It's disappointing, but (we) got to have a short memory," said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma.

Both teams were 0-for-4 on the power play. The Rangers have failed to score 25 straight times with the man advantage dating back to its first-round series against Philadelphia.

The Penguins have won all four previous playoff series with the Rangers. After Friday's loss, Pittsburgh fell to 16-5 all-time against New York in the postseason.

Pittsburgh defenceman Brooks Orpik missed Game 1 with an undisclosed injury and he is questionable for Game 2. Orpik also sat out Game 6 against Columbus and Robert Bortuzzo could fill in for him on Sunday for a third straight game.

Sidney Crosby (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
Rangers at Penguins - Sunday 730PM

Playing back to back days, meet in NY tomorrow
Periods 2/3 in Game 1, PIT outshot NYR 27-12, outscored them 2-0
Series PP: both teams 0/4

6 of 7 playoff games decided by 1G
3/22 on PP last 5 games
3 times in playoffs trailed by 2G and come back to tie
Malkin (3G, 1A) past 2 games
Crosby 12 straight playoff games with 0G

NYR (Lead series 1-0):
First time ever beat PIT in game 1 of a series
Prior 2 playoff series, failed to win back to back game
Road PP 0/17 in playoffs
0/21 on PP last 5 games
Nash 11 straight playoff games without a goal, 5 straight without a point
Richards (2G, 1A) past 4 games
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