The Pittsburgh Penguins crushed the New York Rangers 5-0 in game four on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden to extend their series lead to three games to one.
First-year Penguin Eric Fehr started off the scoring at 1:09 of the first period after Rangers net minder Henrik Lundqvist left a juicy rebound in front of the crease on a Ben Lovejoy slap shot from the blue line. Fehr scored while his momentum forced him to crash into the cage.
Rangers forward Rick Nash took an interference penalty against Penguin defenseman Trevor Daley to put the black and gold on the man advantage. The good guys struck 29 seconds later on a Patric Hornqvist power play goal that started from an Evgeni Malkin slap shot, followed by a Sidney Crosby redirect, and a ricochet off of Hornqvist’s skate and in the back of the net.
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Pittsburgh would stretch their first period lead to three goals after forward Conor Sheary deflected a Kevin Klein pass out of the neutral zone, springing the rookie to a breakaway and beating Lundqvist blocker side at 16:12.
The game went from bad to worse for the New York Rangers after they continuously took penalties in the second and third periods.
The Penguins scored two more times on the man advantage. Evgeni Malkin scored both goals at 4:00 of the second period and 3:28 of the third period.
Goaltender Matt Murray recorded his first career playoff shutout, stopping all 31 Ranger shots. Malkin notched a four-point evening (two goals, two assists) to send the Rangers to the brink of elimination.
The Penguins were flying on the ice, generating chances that Lundqvist could not stop. They overwhelmed the Broadway Blueshirts, and the Penguins played with a level of urgency that the Rangers lacked. The Penguin power play has been lackluster all year long, but it showed up in a big way tonight scoring three of the team’s five goals with a man-power advantage.
Tonight was more psychological than anything
After blanking the Rangers on the road and stealing games three and four, the Rangers looked defeated on the bench. With that being said, we can expect the Rangers play with a lot of desperation as they have nothing to lose being down three games to one in the series.
Slow your roll, Pens fans
Remember when the Penguins had a 3-1 series lead against the Rangers in 2014? The Rangers came back to win the series at CONSOL Energy Center in game seven to eliminate the good guys. The fourth win is the hardest win to get in a series, and if the Penguins do not show the same urgency that they did tonight, then the Rangers will come back and win. The Penguins are a confident group that is rolling, but they need to use a killer instinct to not let this series linger longer than it should. If they do, they could risk injuries, or even worse, a series.