for this game

Malkin scores twice as Penguins put stranglehold on Rangers

Apr 30, 2008 - 4:31 AM
NEW YORK (Ticker) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are proving to be unstoppable.

Hart Trophy finalist Evgeni Malkin scored a pair of power-play goals, including one that snapped a tie late in the second period, as the second-seeded Penguins took a commanding three-games-to-none lead over the fifth-seeded New York Rangers in their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Tuesday with a 5-3 triumph in Game Three.

Malkin added an assist, Marian Hossa scored a goal and set up another and Marc-Andre Fleury made 36 saves for the Penguins, who became the first team since the 1994 Rangers to win their first seven games of a postseason.

"They are tough games," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "When you get to the playoffs, it's tough. We're not thinking about winning the first seven games. We're taking it game to game."

"We are in a great position," Hossa said. "Nobody would think we would be in this position after three games, but right now, we are greedy. We want to win another one."

Enforcer Georges Laraque and Ryan Malone also scored while captain Sidney Crosby, defenseman Sergei Gonchar and former Ranger Petr Sykora added two assists apiece for Pittsburgh, which went 2-for-3 with the man advantage despite being outshot, 39-17, in the contest.

Martin Straka, Ryan Callahan and captain Jaromir Jagr tallied for the Rangers, who hope to avoid being swept of the best-of-seven series when they host Game Four on Thursday.

"Obviously, it was a big game for us to get back in the series," New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "It's going to be a tough one for us. We did so many good things tonight. (But) there is still a chance."

"You just take it one at a time and leave this one behind us," Crosby said. "For us, it's a chance here to close it out, and we want to do it. But it's the same story - the last one is always the toughest, especially with them being here. It doesn't get any easier."

Only two teams have overcome a three-games-to-none deficit in the Stanley Cup playoffs - the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who accomplished the feat against Detroit in the Finals, and the 1975 New York Islanders in the quarterfinals - against the Penguins.

In the history of North American sports, the only other club to rebound when trailing 3-0 in a series was Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox, who did so against the mighty New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series. Jagr was quick to point out that fact.

"It's pretty tough to be down 3-0, but they have to win four games," he said. "They have to close it. Even such a great team like the Yankees didn't hold a 3-0 lead. They are the best ever. We can make history."

"We cannot panic," Rangers coach Tom Renney added. "We can't allow Pittsburgh to come into our building and think they have it wrapped up."

The Penguins got to work early, scoring 62 seconds into the contest to take the lead.

Lundqvist made the save on a redirection of Pascal Dupuis' shot from the top of the right faceoff circle by Crosby, but the rebound went right to Hossa, who beat the Vezina Trophy finalist to the short side from the bottom of the left circle for his third goal of the postseason.

Both teams failed to capitalize on chances later in the first as Straka missed an open net from the slot less than six minutes in and Malkin fired wide from the right side of the crease on a 2-on-1 opportunity midway through the period.

New York pulled even with 5:28 remaining, with the help of the video replay officials.

With three players joining Fleury in the crease, Straka deposited the puck into the net as it was being knocked off its moorings. The referee made no signal for a goal, but after the play was reviewed, Straka was awarded his third of the playoffs, knotting the contest at 1-1.

Pittsburgh converted each of its next two shots on goal, however, to grab a 3-1 advantage.

From behind the net, Malkin made a pass that hit a skate and went right to Laraque, who snapped the puck past Lundqvist with 3:43 to go. Just 84 seconds later, Malkin unleashed a slap shot from the blue line during a power play that beat a screened Lundqvist low to the glove side.

"Maybe the pressure is getting to us a little bit," said Jagr, whose team went 0-for-5 with the man advantage. "We know we have to score. That was the difference - they scored on their opportunities and we didn't score on our opportunities."

The goal extended the Penguins' streak of consecutive postseason games with a man-advantage tally to seven, matching the club record set in 1989 and equaled two years later.

New York battled hard in the second period and managed to forge a tie midway through the session.

After the Rangers failed to convert three early power plays, Scott Gomez outmuscled Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi for possession behind the net and made a backhand pass to Callahan, who beat Fleury from the left side at 12:07. Jagr deadlocked the game 64 seconds later, gaining control behind the net, skating out to the right side and firing the puck into the top left corner for his 75th career postseason goal.

"In the first, we did a pretty good job," Crosby said. "The second, we didn't play well at all. ... We can't afford to have bad periods."

Pittsburgh knows it dodged a bullet and has to stay out of the penalty box.

"We took too many penalties and gave them a chance to get back in the game," Laraque said. "Our penalty-killers did a great job because we weren't disciplined. The next game, we have to be way more disciplined because in this building, you see the momentum they had. They did everything to win and we just got lucky."

"As a team, what's impressive about them is that they're bending but not breaking," Renney said. "That's maybe something they've got going for themselves right now. We appreciate that, but we're going to keep coming at them."

Gomez - who notched two assists - nearly put New York in front two minutes later, but his slap shot hit the crossbar. But the Penguins had no doubt they would be able to regain the lead.

"Guys have come up with big goals at the right time, and even when the game was tied, I still felt confident that we could win it," Fleury said.

"Guys don't quit," Dupuis added. "There's a feeling on the bench (that) even if they score, if we keep coming hard, we know deep inside that if we're down by one goal, down by two goals, tied or if we're up, it seems we're going to find a way to win."

Outshot, 14-4, in the period, Pittsburgh needed just one power-play chance late in the second to move back ahead. With former Penguins defenseman Michal Rozsival screening Lundqvist, Malkin blasted a shot past the netminder from the right circle with three seconds left on Ryan Hollweg's boarding penalty for his second goal of the game.

"Our power-play unit was working very well," Malkin said through interpreter and teammate Gonchar. "We had a guy in front of the net. We had four forwards in front of the net. That's probably why we had so many good chances. I knew that there was not much time left, so I knew that I had to shoot."

"Malkin was really effective," Therrien said. "Our special teams were really effective, and he's part of our special teams. The fourth goal put us again in a good position to win the game. That was a huge goal."

Renney refused to blame Hollweg for the infraction that led to Malkin's goal.

"Nobody feels worse than Ryan Hollweg," Renney said. "That was a very tough penalty to take. It was probably the turning point of the game."

The Penguins, who also only registered four shots in the third, restored their two-goal lead 2 1/2 minutes into the session. After a faceoff win in the right circle, defenseman Kris Letang one-timed a pass to Malone, who redirected it past Lundqvist from the slot for his third of the postseason.

"We won a faceoff there (and) I just tipped it in," Malone said. "Sykie (Sykora) just did a great job of helping Malkin on the faceoff there, got it back to Tanger. I found my stick in front. I just tried to tip it up. I ended up getting a lucky bounce there."

Gomez admitted Malone's goal dampened the Rangers' spirits.

"The fifth goal kind of took it out of us," he said. "We just have to work harder. There's really nothing to lose. The goal now is that we have to get back to Pittsburgh (for Game Five).

"We believe we can do it. ... We have one more home game - take care of that and you never know. Momentum can change there. There's nothing to lose now. There won't be any quit in (this locker room), that's for sure."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 3 1 1 5
    NY RANGERS 1 2 0 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - MARIAN HOSSA 3 (PASCAL DUPUIS, SIDNEY CROSBY) 1:02
    NYR - MARTIN STRAKA 3 (JAROMIR JAGR, PAUL MARA) 14:32
    PIT - GEORGES LARAQUE 1 (EVGENI MALKIN, PETR SYKORA) 16:17
    PIT - (PP) EVGENI MALKIN 4 (SERGEI G

    Apr 29 9:42 PM
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    Penguins 5, Rangers 3  3rd - 14:59Apr 29 9:16 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 5
    NY RANGERS 3
    3RD PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 3 (KRISTOPHER LETANG, PETR SYKORA) 2:30

    Penguins 5, Rangers 3  3rd - 17:30Apr 29 9:10 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 3 1 4
    NY RANGERS 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - MARIAN HOSSA 3 (PASCAL DUPUIS, SIDNEY CROSBY) 1:02
    NYR - MARTIN STRAKA 3 (JAROMIR JAGR, PAUL MARA) 14:32
    PIT - GEORGES LARAQUE 1 (EVGENI MALKIN, PETR SYKORA) 16:17
    PIT - (PP) EVGENI MALKI

    Apr 29 8:46 PM
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    AFaust3 Added 5 roots

    Penguins 4, Rangers 3  2nd - 2:07Apr 29 8:44 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 4
    NY RANGERS 3
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) EVGENI MALKIN 5 (SIDNEY CROSBY, SERGEI GONCHAR)
    17:53

    Penguins 4, Rangers 3  2nd - 2:07Apr 29 8:43 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 3
    NY RANGERS 3
    2ND PRD: NYR - JAROMIR JAGR 3 (SCOTT GOMEZ, MARTIN STRAKA) 13:11

    Penguins 3, Rangers 3  2nd - 6:49Apr 29 8:35 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 3
    NY RANGERS 2
    2ND PRD: NYR - RYAN CALLAHAN 2 (SCOTT GOMEZ, DAN GIRARDI) 12:06

    Penguins 3, Rangers 2  2nd - 7:54Apr 29 8:32 PM
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    Penguins 3, Rangers 1  2nd - 19:55Apr 29 8:10 PM
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    Penguins 3, Rangers 1  End of 1stApr 29 7:55 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 3 3
    NY RANGERS 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - MARIAN HOSSA 3 (PASCAL DUPUIS, SIDNEY CROSBY) 1:02
    NYR - MARTIN STRAKA 3 (JAROMIR JAGR, PAUL MARA) 14:32
    PIT - GEORGES LARAQUE 1 (EVGENI MALKIN, PETR SYKORA) 16:17
    PIT - (PP) EVGENI MALKI

    Apr 29 7:52 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 3
    NY RANGERS 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) EVGENI MALKIN 4 (SERGEI GONCHAR, MARIAN HOSSA)
    17:41

    Penguins 3, Rangers 1  1st - 2:19Apr 29 7:50 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 2
    NY RANGERS 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - GEORGES LARAQUE 1 (EVGENI MALKIN, PETR SYKORA) 16:17

    Penguins 2, Rangers 1  1st - 3:43Apr 29 7:47 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 1
    NY RANGERS 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - MARTIN STRAKA 3 (JAROMIR JAGR, PAUL MARA) 14:32

    Penguins 1, Rangers 1  1st - 5:28Apr 29 7:41 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 1
    NY RANGERS 0
    1ST PRD: PIT - MARIAN HOSSA 3 (PASCAL DUPUIS) 1:02

    Penguins 1, Rangers 0  1st - 18:58Apr 29 7:14 PM
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    Penguins vs. RangersApr 29 7:04 PM
  • basehit024 Penguins go to the garden and silence the New York faithful. This game is too important for the penguins to let up. Need to win game 3 for a sweep in game 4. LET'S GO PENS!!!!!!!!!

    Penguins vs. RangersApr 28 7:18 PM
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    Penguins vs. RangersApr 28 6:34 AM
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    aqualung1 Added 5 roots

    Penguins vs. RangersApr 25 1:19 AM