The Pittsburgh Penguins throttled the New York Rangers en route to a 6-3 win at CONSOL Energy Center in game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to move on to the second round.
Rangers forward Rick Nash broke the ice with his second goal of the series off of a redirect from defenseman Dan Girardi’s shot from the point at 1:02 of the first period.
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At 9:50 of the same frame, the Penguins established a good attack from the Phil Kessel-CarlHagelin-Nick Bonino line below the hashmarks, and a beautiful feed from Kessel to former Ranger Hagelin evened the score at one.
The Blueshirts would respond 45 seconds on a rather strange sequence of events. Jesper Fast centered a pass intended for Victor Stalberg missed his stick, went through goaltender Matt Murray’s five hole and off the post, off of Patric Hornqvist’s skate, off of Dominic Moore and in for Moore’s first goal of the playoffs.
After a boarding call was assessed to Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei, the Penguins converted on the man-advantage with a goal from Kessel at 11:39. The shot was going to go wide, but it grazed Henrik Lundqvist’s stick and into the top left corner to even the game at two.
The second period was all black and gold when they registered a four-goal frame. Bryan Rust scored his first two career postseason goals to start and finish the scoring in the second, Matt Cullen scored the eventual game-winner, and Conor Sheary added a goal as well to increase their lead to 6-2 after two periods.
New York would get their final goal on the year on the power play from Chris Kreider. Kreider redirected defenseman Raphael Diaz’s shot to cut the deficit down to three.
The Penguins scored 11 goals in the final two games of the series against a team that they had troubles in the past with in the postseason. They showed the Rangers that they were not going to be eliminated by them in the first round again, and the Penguins used their killer instinct to eliminate a division rival.
Do Not Rush Fleury Back
After Murray performed well upon return for the Penguins, it was very clear that Fleury can be comfortable in the press box to recover from his second concussion of the year. The team is in a groove, and the last thing Coach Mike Sullivan should do is tinker with the team while on this hot streak.
Who Would You Want: Capitals or Flyers?
Pens fans, here is the real questions for you: Would you rather play the Capitals or Flyers? Personally, if I were a Pens fan, I would want to play the Capitals because there would actually be good hockey between the two teams instead of the extracurricular activities that the Flyers love to engage in after the whistle. The two best teams in the Eastern Conference in the Capitals and Penguins would make for a heck of a series. I will go out of my way and say that if these two teams meet up, then the winner of this matchup would more than likely represent the East in the Stanley Cup Finals.