Pittsburgh Penguins Even Series with 4-3 Victory in Game Two


The Pittsburgh Penguins have awakened.

After getting trounced 2-1 in their series opener against the New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins evened the series at one game apiece by taking down the Rangers 4-3 in tonight’s contest.

Pittsburgh’s victory came on the heels of some stellar play from Pens captain Sidney Crosby, who finished the game with 2 goals.

It was the first multi-goal playoff performance from Crosby since back in 2013 when he recorded a hat trick against the Ottawa Senators.

While Crosby finished with the most tallies on the night, it was a different Penguins centre who kicked off the scoring for the Pens.

After New York’s Derek Stepan gave the Rangers a one-goal lead in the first period, Pens centre Brandon Sutter evened the score with a powerplay tally midway through the second stanza.

It was an energizing tally from the third-line pivot. Sutter started it off with a drop pass to veteran winger Chris Kunitz, who hammered a shot that was deflected high into the air. Sutter fought off Stepan to get position on the puck’s landing spot – as soon as it touched the ice he slammed it past Henrik Lundqvist for his first goal of the postseason.

Pittsburgh capitalized on the momentum swing with two straight goals from Crosby.

Defenseman Ian Cole started off the first tallying play, hitting Patric Hornqvist with a perfectly placed stretch pass, allowing the winger to streak in for a shot on Lundqvist. The Rangers netminder turned aside the shot but let out a dangerous rebound that Crosby easily tucked in.

Four minutes later, the captain scored his second of the game, and the postseason, as he and Kunitz showed flashes of the chemistry that previously made them the most feared duo in the NHL.

As Paul Martin flipped the puck to Kunitz along the right wall, Crosby beelined for the net. Kunitz wired a quick shot-pass through the slot, which Crosby directed on net after diving to execute the tip.

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It was certainly a sight to see as the Pens looked to finally have shed the monstrous weight that has been on their backs. In one play that hearkened back to the Pens of old, the energy on the bench suggested the Pens had gotten themselves out from under the pressure of underperforming in the postseason.

Rangers forward Derick Brassard attempted to rain on the parade early in the third when he cut the Pens’ lead to one with a powerplay goal for New York.

But Chris Kunitz continued his fine game and added Pittsburgh’s second man-advantage goal of the evening, notching his team-leading third point of the night.

Brandon Sutter played a key role in the powerplay tally once again, wheeling around from the behind the net to put pressure on Lundqvist. The Rangers tender again stopped the initial shot, but Kunitz snuck in and roofed the rebound into the twine off his backhand to take the score to 4-2.

The Pens held on and weathered a goal from Rick Nash in the final seconds of the game to win 4-3.

It was a performance that seemed to check all the boxes in terms of what Pittsburgh needed in this series.

They got solid transition play from Ian Cole. Chris Kunitz rediscovered his scoring touch. The powerplay scored (twice)! Marc-Andre Fleury came up with crucial saves at key times.

And, most importantly, Sidney Crosby looked dominant once again.

After entering the series significantly outmatched by the Rangers, the Pens’ first two games of the postseason have seen them earn the chance to play for the Stanley Cup.

While the Pens remain the underdog in their series against this season’s President’s Trophy winner, they enter Game Three with a legitimate chance to take the lead and move closer to a ticket to the second round.

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