for this game

Malkin's late goal gives Penguins thrilling win

Apr 26, 2008 - 4:10 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- The New York Rangers appeared to have everything under control. But some quick strikes and a late power play gave the Pittsburgh Penguins an early edge in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Evgeni Malkin scored a power-play goal with 1:41 remaining in the third period, snapping a tie and lifting the second-seeded Penguins to a 5-4 victory over the fifth-seeded Rangers on Friday in their conference semifinals opener.

Jarkko Ruutu, Pascal Dupuis, Marian Hossa and Petr Sykora also tallied for the Penguins, who erased a three-goal deficit in the postseason for just the second time in their history and first since Game One of the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"We really showed the character of this hockey team," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "We never quit, even after we were down three goals. That was a great accomplishment for that young group to be able to bounce back against a team like the Rangers, who are really committed defensively."

Captain Sidney Crosby and Ryan Malone each recorded two assists for Pittsburgh, which hosts Game Two on Sunday.

The victory gave the Penguins their first five-game winning streak in the playoffs since 1996, when they won the final four contests of the conference quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals and the opener of the semifinals vs. the Rangers.

Martin Straka, Chris Drury, Sean Avery and Scott Gomez scored for the Rangers, who fell to 93-2 all time when holding a three-goal lead in a playoff game.

"That one hurts," New York captain Jaromir Jagr said. "I thought we had it. The second one is going to be even tougher, but we have to do it somehow."

"We just have to forget this," Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist added. "I don't want to think about it. I just want to move on."

Looking to post its first playoff series win over Pittsburgh in four all-time meetings, New York got off to a great start after allowing the Penguins to register the first eight shots of the game.

A former Penguin, Straka converted a pass from the right corner by Jagr during a power play with 6:20 to go in the first period for his second goal of the postseason and a 1-0 lead.

Early in the middle session, Drury deflected a rising slap shot from the left point by defenseman Marc Staal past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury at 1:52 to double the lead.

The play was reviewed as it initially appeared Drury's stick was above the crossbar when he deflected the puck. But the replay officials did not see conclusive evidence to disallow the goal.

"I didn't see the replay yet, but I thought it was pretty high," Fleury said. "I thought it was over the net and I was a little surprised to see it count."

Less than two minutes later, Avery beat Fleury with a wrister from the left faceoff circle for a 3-0 bulge.

After scoring his fourth goal of the playoffs, Avery skated past Pittsburgh's bench and pumped his fist. Apparently, that caught the attention of the Penguins, who never felt they were out of it.

"I don't think you're ever happy on the bench when you're down 3-0," Crosby said. "But there's a difference between not being happy and giving up."

Ruutu got Pittsburgh on the scoreboard at 8:13, when his pass attempt from the left side of the net caromed off the skate of defenseman Michal Rozsival in front and past Lundqvist.

"The best play is to throw the puck at the net," Ruutu said.

"Roots got a big one there to start us off," Crosby said. "Once again, our role guys are, a lot of times, the difference. That was a big goal to get us back."

Just 14 seconds afterward, Crosby made a backhand pass from behind the net to Dupuis, who beat the Vezina Trophy finalist with a one-timer from the left hash marks to draw the Penguins within 3-2.

"Coming back in the second like that, it's a good feeling," said Dupuis, a former Ranger.

"We got a break on our first goal," Therrien admitted. "It gave life to our team right away. We scored on the next shift, so after that, we knew we were in the game. ... This is a team it is tough to come back on, especially with a three-goal deficit. That just shows the character of this hockey team."

Sykora nearly forged a tie with just under two minutes remaining in the second when his shot hit the crossbar, and Dupuis failed to convert from alone in front of the net a minute into the third.

But Hossa managed to knot the contest at 4:40, unleashing a shot from along the end line in the right corner that found its way between the pads of Lundqvist for his second goal of the postseason.

Once again, the Penguins struck quickly as Malkin made a cross-crease pass to Sykora, who buried the puck from the right side 20 seconds later to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 edge.

"The game is never finished for us," Sykora said. "It doesn't matter if we're down 1-, 2-, 3-0, we continue going at it. A couple of dirty goals never hurt."

"When you're down by that much, you just take it in small steps and take it one shift at a time," Crosby said. "Just try to go shift after shift and try to create pressure and eventually either you're going to get chances or you're going to draw penalties if you move your feet."

The Rangers believed the Penguins were a bit lucky to get back in the game.

"When you're trailing, 3-0, you need a couple breaks, and they definitely got the breaks," Lundqvist said. "I think two or three goals, they didn't work that hard. They just bounced off our players and in. I definitely think they got the breaks tonight."

"We knew they weren't going to give up," Gomez said. "Some bounces went their way. (Up) 3-0 in the playoffs, you'd like to think it's over. But what are you going to do? We can't get in a track meet with those guys."

Instead of crawling into a hole, New York fought back to get the equalizer. From behind the net, Jagr made a pass into the left circle to Gomez, whose one-timer found the top right corner at 10:04 for a 4-4 deadlock.

Lundqvist denied Crosby from alone in front with 9 1/2 minutes left, but after Straka was called for interference at 16:40, the superstar found a way to help the Penguins surge ahead.

Standing at the top of the right circle, Crosby one-timed defenseman Ryan Whitney's pass toward the net. Stationed just above the crease, Malkin had the puck deflect off his shin and past Lundqvist for a 5-4 lead.

"I was trying to throw it on the blocker side," Crosby said. "I don't know if it was going to miss the net if it didn't hit Geno's shin pad. I don't know what the case was there. That's where you're going to score this time of year."

"I saw (the puck) was going wide and I reached for it," said Lundqvist, who made 21 saves. "It hit Malkin's leg and went in. ... They're a good team, but it's tough to win when they get a couple of bounces like they did tonight."

The play was reviewed, but Malkin never believed the goal would be disallowed.

"I was pretty calm because I knew I didn't move my foot," Malkin said through an interpreter.

Crosby also deserved credit for drawing the penalty against Straka.

"I ended up falling," he said. "I don't know what I tripped over, if it was his stick or his skate or what it was. I think he was just trying to get back and get position on me."

The Rangers made things interesting, however, as a knuckling wrister by Jagr from the slot with 14 seconds remaining bounced off the left goalpost. But Fleury did not face another shot, allowing the Penguins to improve to 2-46 in postseason play when faced with a three-goal deficit.








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 1 2 1 4
    PITTSBURGH 0 2 3 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) MARTIN STRAKA 2 (JAROMIR JAGR, MICHAL ROZSIVAL)
    13:40
    2ND PRD: NYR - CHRIS DRURY 3 (MARC STAAL, NIGEL DAWES) 1:52
    NYR - SEAN AVERY 4 (MARC STAAL, MICHAL ROZSIVAL) 3:37
    PIT - JARKKO RUUTU 2 (JORD

    Apr 25 9:37 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 4
    PITTSBURGH 5
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) SIDNEY CROSBY 3 (RYAN WHITNEY, KRISTOPHER LETANG)
    18:19

    Rangers 4, Penguins 5  3rd - 1:41Apr 25 9:34 PM
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    Rangers 4, Penguins 5  3rd - 1:41Apr 25 9:34 PM
  • 97
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    Rangers 4, Penguins 4  3rd - 4:30Apr 25 9:26 PM
  • 92
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    RUWTbot Added 57 roots (Close Finish)

    Rangers 4, Penguins 4  3rd - 4:30Apr 25 9:24 PM
  • 35
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    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Rangers 4, Penguins 4  3rd - 7:10Apr 25 9:21 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 4
    PITTSBURGH 4
    3RD PRD: NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 4 (JAROMIR JAGR) 10:04

    Rangers 4, Penguins 4  3rd - 9:56Apr 25 9:17 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 3
    PITTSBURGH 4
    3RD PRD: PIT - PETR SYKORA 4 (EVGENI MALKIN, RYAN MALONE) 5:00

    Rangers 3, Penguins 4  3rd - 15:00Apr 25 9:08 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 3
    PITTSBURGH 3
    3RD PRD: PIT - MARIAN HOSSA 2 (ROB SCUDERI, RYAN MALONE) 4:40

    Rangers 3, Penguins 3  3rd - 15:20Apr 25 9:07 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 1 2 3
    PITTSBURGH 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) MARTIN STRAKA 2 (JAROMIR JAGR, MICHAL ROZSIVAL)
    13:40
    2ND PRD: NYR - CHRIS DRURY 3 (MARC STAAL, NIGEL DAWES) 1:52
    NYR - SEAN AVERY 4 (MARC STAAL, MICHAL ROZSIVAL) 3:37
    PIT - JARKKO

    Apr 25 8:44 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 3
    PITTSBURGH 2
    2ND PRD: PIT - PASCAL DUPUIS 1 (SIDNEY CROSBY) 8:27

    Rangers 3, Penguins 2  2nd - 11:33Apr 25 8:22 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 3
    PITTSBURGH 1
    2ND PRD: PIT - JARKKO RUUTU 2 (JORDAN STAAL, BROOKS ORPIK) 8:13

    Rangers 3, Penguins 1  2nd - 11:47Apr 25 8:21 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 3
    PITTSBURGH 0
    2ND PRD: NYR - SEAN AVERY 4 (MARC STAAL, MICHAL ROZSIVAL) 3:37

    Rangers 3, Penguins 0  2nd - 16:23Apr 25 8:12 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 2
    PITTSBURGH 0
    2ND PRD: NYR - CHRIS DRURY 3 (MARC STAAL, NIGEL DAWES) 1:52

    Rangers 2, Penguins 0  2nd - 18:08Apr 25 8:08 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 1 1
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) BRANDON DUBINSKY 4 (MARTIN STRAKA, JAROMIR JAGR)
    13:40
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYR 7 7
    PIT 9 9
    GOALIES: N

    Apr 25 7:44 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 1
    PITTSBURGH 0
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) BRANDON DUBINSKY 4 (MARTIN STRAKA, JAROMIR JAGR)
    13:40

    Rangers 1, Penguins 0  1st - 6:20Apr 25 7:34 PM
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