After being shutout in the previous two games, New York’s goal scoring drought finally ended at 145:30 minutes, but the Rangers didn’t generate many other scoring chances and Pittsburgh still came ahead with a 4-2 victory.
The Penguins have elevated their game defensively in the second round. They held the Rangers to just 15 shots and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was decent when challenged. The Rangers’ first goal was scored by Carl Hagelin when he was able to blaze past the Penguins’ players without much resistance after Pittsburgh presented him with a clear path to the net.
The goal Fleury allowed to Mats Zuccarello at 13:07 of the third period was arguably one he should have stopped, but in both cases, the Rangers’ efforts to force themselves back into the contest proved to be moot.
Hagelin’s marker tied the game at 1-1, but later in the period, the Rangers’ ugly power-play unit reared its head again. Not only have they failed to score a goal with the man advantage for nine straight games, but Brandon Sutter gave the Penguins back the lead while Pittsburgh was shorthanded.
Zuccarello’s goal put the Rangers within one, but Chris Kunitz responded less than a minute later.
Pittsburgh now has a 3-1 series lead, which gives the team a chance to finish this series at home on Friday. That would give the Penguins a much needed breather before the Eastern Conference Final after the first four games of this series were played over the span of six days.