NHL Playoff Recap: Penguins Double-Up on Rangers, Double-Up Series Lead

Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz
Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz
May 7 2014 New York NY USA Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz 14 congratulated by center Sidney Crosby 87 after scoring a goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist 30 during the third period in game four of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden The Penguins defeated the Rangers 4 2 to take a 3 1 series lead Adam Hunger USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers – PIT wins 4-2, PIT leads series 3-1

Pittsburgh would open the scoring less than four minutes in to the first period. A neutral zone turnover led to a passing play between Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. It would be a broken play but a backhand by Malkin beat Henrik Lundqvist between his legs for a 1-0 lead.

The Penguins looked a bit disjointed on their two power plays in the period, but Malkin and Crosby were sharp. They were on the ice for half of Pittsburgh’s shots at even strength (3-of-6), though there were just 13 shots total between the two teams. Finally, and always take the real time stats with a grain of salt, the Rangers were credited with 11 giveaways. The first goal came off one such play in the neutral zone.

The Rangers would finally break the shutout streak thanks to the speed of Carl Hagelin. An outlet pass from Ryan McDonagh sent Hagelin with and he was able to split the defense, eventually beating Marc-Andre Fleury over his glove for the tying goal. The rest of the period would be fairly quiet, until a Rangers power play late in the second period. Brian Gibbons managed a short-handed breakaway, fanned on his deke, but Brandon Sutter cleaned up the rebound to give the Penguins their lead back before intermission. The Rangers would finish 40 minutes with 11 shots on goal.

With just under 13 minutes left, a deflating goal scored by Jussi Jokinen gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead. A turn-around shot from the boards by Jokinen appeared to deflect off the skate of Marc Staal and through the legs of Lundqvist. To that point, the Rangers had failed to register a shot on goal.

A Mats Zuccarello sharp-angle shot would beat Fleury under his arm with 6:53 remaining, though, and the Rangers were given a breath of life. That breath of life was cut short by Chris Kunitz, who was left alone in front of Lundqvist, received a pass from Malkin and made no mistake to make it 4-2.

The Rangers had no real answer for Crosby and Malkin on this night. The duo would factor in the first and fourth goals and Malkin would be on the ice for nearly half of Pittsburgh’s shots (13/27).

*as always, thanks to Extra Skater and Shift Chart

author avatar
Michael Clifford
Michael Clifford was born and raised in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and is a graduate of the Unviersity of New Brunswick. He writes about fantasy hockey and baseball for XNSports and FantasyTrade411.com. He can be reached on Twitter @SlimCliffy for any fantasy hockey questions. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');