The New York Rangers have done the unthinkable. They fought back from being down 3-1 in the series to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 Tuesday night.
Brian Boyle finished off a marvelous passing play with a goal early in the first period to give the Rangers the lead. Pittsburgh responded with a goal from Jussi Jokinen in the second period but the Rangers retook the lead when Brad Richards scored the eventual game winner on the powerplay.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who is stunned by the collapse of the Pittsburgh Penguins in this series. I assumed that the Rangers were finished when the Penguins jumped to a two-game series lead.
However, the Rangers gained some much-needed confidence and momentum through veteran Martin St. Louis.
Despite that, I still thought that Sidney Crosby was going to wake up and carry his team to victory in game seven. However, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin couldn’t get anything going at all. As a result, Crosby exits this year’s playoffs with just one goal to his name.
Malkin did get an assist on Pittsburgh’s only goal but he was otherwise non-existent in game seven.
It’s not as if these guys didn’t get any chances. The Penguins crashed the net in the last five minutes and did everything they could to try and tie the game.
They even caused Henrik Lundqvist to lose his stick and they still couldn’t get one by him. Lundqvist silenced the home crowd fans by stopping 35 shots and holding off a crazy barrage late in the game.
Lundqvist ended the game with an incredible .972 save percentage. Marc Staal, Anton Stralman and Ryan McDonagh kept their defensive triangle in-tact by halting the Penguins attacks, taking away the shooting lanes and desperately blocking shots. The Rangers blocked a total of 16 shots in the game.
They also proved to be the more physical team, outhitting the Penguins 33-27 in the game. As a result, they were able to hang on for the win.
It just goes to show how one mistake can change a game. The Penguins committed too many players into attack while they were shorthanded. As a result, the Rangers were able to launch a counter-attack that ended with a goal.
So now the Rangers will face either the Montreal Canadiens or the dreaded Boston Bruins.
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