The Times West Virginian

Sports

May 6, 2014

Fleury, Crosby lift Pens over Rangers

NEW YORK — Sidney Crosby scored his first goal of these playoffs, and Marc-Andre Fleury earned his second shutout of the New York Rangers in two nights as the Pittsburgh Penguins regained home-ice advantage with a 2-0 victory in Game 3 on Monday night.

Crosby snapped a 13-game goal drought in the playoffs to give the Penguins the lead in the second period, and Jussi Jokinen added a breakaway goal. Fleury stopped 35 shots to back up his 22-save effort Sunday in a 3-0 win in Pittsburgh. He has eight career postseason shutouts and 51 wins.

The Penguins, who lost the opener in overtime, lead the Eastern Conference semifinal series 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday in New York.

Henrik Lundqvist made 13 saves for the weary Rangers, who played for the fifth time in seven days. They have consecutive losses in these playoffs for the first time.

The tide turned in Pittsburgh’s favor in the second period for the third straight game. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said earlier Monday that he “hated” the second period in Games 1 and 2, and he couldn’t have liked this one, either.

New York had 2:15 remaining on a 4-minute power play that began in the first period, but couldn’t cash in. To make matters worse for the Rangers, Crosby took a long stretch pass from defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, outraced Marc Staal, and beat Lundqvist between the pads from the left circle just 19 seconds after James Neal left the penalty box. It was Crosby’s 41st career playoff goal.

Although Crosby didn’t score in Game 2, he played a dominant game.

“Eventually you’re going to see him get a goal,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said before Game 3. “Eventually you’re going to see him break out. There’s no question about that.”

The Penguins struck for their second goal again right after killing a penalty. Jokinen jumped out of the box and got to a loose puck in the neutral zone after Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello failed to connect on a backward pass in the Pittsburgh end.

Jokinen came in alone on Lundqvist and scored his fifth of the playoffs with 4:40 left in the second — 8 seconds after his penalty ended.

The Rangers were suddenly down 2-0 and had the weight of their anemic power play enveloping them even more. They finished 0 for 5 and have failed on 34 straight advantages overall — including one in the final minutes.

During their last man-advantage in the second period, the Madison Square Garden crowd implored the Rangers to “Shoot the puck!” They did, but to no avail.

New York led 26-14 in shots through two periods, yet trailed by two goals.

Zuccarello thought earlier in the second that he had tied the game at 1, but his drive struck the crossbar behind Fleury, skittered across the goal line, and stayed out.  

The Rangers received their first power play of the night 5:16 in when Marcel Goc was called for roughing Dominic Moore after an icing call.

Neal later got a 4-minute power play for hitting Jesper Fast in the mouth with a high stick with 1:45 remaining. Benoit Pouliot had the best chance during the first half of the advantage when he fired a drive off the right post with 14 seconds left in the period.

Before that, Zuccarello had the best scoring chance when he one-timed a pass from Pouliot during 5-on-5 play from the left circle that Fleury snagged with a stretch of his glove hand with 2:41 left.

Lundqvist was sharp early for the second straight night and turned aside Chris Kunitz on a breakaway, for the second time in as many days, during New York’s first power play.

NOTES: Crosby was nominated as a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, given annually to the “Most Outstanding Player” as voted by fellow members of the NHL Players’ Association. Crosby won the award last season and in 2007. ... The Rangers replaced rugged forwards Daniel Carcillo and Derek Dorsett in the lineup with Fast and J.T. Miller, and put defenseman Raphael Diaz in for the first time in these playoffs. John Moore sat out. ... Lundqvist made his 77th playoff appearance, the most for a Rangers goalie.

 

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