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Kreider scores late, Rangers edge Pens to force Game 7


PITTSBURGH — Chris Kreider does not imagine in dwelling on the previous. There is just the subsequent play for the New York Rangers‘ star ahead.

It’s why Kreider threw linemate Mika Zibanejad’s iPad to the bottom out of frustration after Zibanejad stewed over a breakaway throughout the second interval in opposition to Pittsburgh’s Louie Domingue on Friday evening that ended up with Zibanejad hitting the submit.

Kreider informed Zibanejad to cease second-guessing himself. It was an excellent transfer. It did not go in. It occurs. Just maintain taking part in.

So Zibanejad did. Kreider, too. And due to their relentlessness the resilient Rangers are heading again house for a Game 7.

The two longtime teammates scored two targets apiece — together with Kreider’s blast from the purpose that hit Domingue excessive then sailed over the goaltender’s head and rolled into the web with 1:28 remaining to raise the Rangers to a 5-3 win over the Sidney Crosby-less Penguins to push their thrilling first-round playoff sequence to the restrict.

“Regardless of the situation, I’m proud of the way this team competes,” Kreider mentioned. “Whether we’re down, whether we’re up, we’re trying to get to our game, trying to play the same way.”

As they’ve carried out repeatedly all through this topsy-turvy sequence the Rangers rallied from a multiple-goal deficit and can host Game 7 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden with some critical momentum.

“We battled back after (falling behind) and that showed some character in our group,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant mentioned.

A gaggle seeking to advance within the playoffs for the primary time since 2017. New York will get an opportunity due to the play of Kreider and Zibanejad, 4 assists from Adam Fox and 31 saves by Igor Shesterkin, who rebounded from two shaky performances at PPG Paints Arena earlier within the sequence to silence the chants of “IIIIGOOORRRR” that rained down on him steadily.

“He battles, it’s what he does,” Kreider mentioned of Shesterkin, a finalist for each the Vezina and Hart trophies. “He’s been our best player all year and he continues to be our best player.”

Pittsburgh’s greatest participant, against this, was compelled to look at his crew let an opportunity to advance slip away from afar. The Penguins performed with out Crosby, who’s coping with an upper-body damage that compelled the captain to overlook his first playoff sport in 5 years.

For lengthy stretches, it regarded as if Pittsburgh would discover a option to transfer on even with Crosby’s acquainted No. 87 out of the lineup. Bryan Rust and Jeff Carter scored throughout the first interval to stake the Penguins to a 2-0 lead and Evgeni Malkin’s breakaway late within the second knotted the sport at 3 after the Rangers had surged in entrance.

In the tip, it did not matter. Shesterkin held agency within the third interval and Domingue — who’s performed solidly if not spectacularly whereas filling in for injured starters Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith — let in his first actually smooth aim of the playoffs when Kreider’s comparatively innocuous shot from the purpose hit the goaltender’s glove then fluttered behind him.

“Nobody said it was going to be easy,” Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang mentioned. “They’re a really good team. They have a lot of skilled players that can score goals. It’s a race to four and we have to regroup, stay positive and get the job done.”

SPECIAL TEAMS ISSUES

The Penguins have been in management early within the second interval when ahead Evan Rodrigues was issued a penalty for roughing after taking exception to a success alongside the boards by New York’s Ryan Lindgren.

It took Zibanejad all of 5 seconds to attain with the person benefit to offer the Rangers with a wanted jolt and provides him his first aim of the postseason. Zibanejad’s second got here simply 1:16 afterward one other laser, this one from the best circle.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan chastised Rodrigues for failing to maintain his feelings in verify.

“That’s a necessary part of winning at this time of the year,” Sullivan mentioned.

So is scoring if you’re on a 5-on-3. The Penguins failed to take action early in Game 5 in New York. They did not do it once more on Friday, producing little regardless of having 1:07 with the two-man benefit. Pittsburgh went 0 for 3 on the facility play on the evening whereas the Rangers went 2 for 3.

“I think I’m probably stating the obvious, but the special teams was the difference,” Sullivan mentioned. “We have to be better.”

GAME 7 UNCERTAINTY

Crosby skated early Friday morning with Pittsburgh skating and abilities improvement coach Ty Hennes however was not a part of the Penguins’ non-compulsory skate. His standing for Sunday is unknown.

Jarry, who’s been out since mid-April with a damaged foot, took photographs throughout the skate however was held out as soon as once more. Penguins ahead Rickard Rakell missed his fifth straight sport after taking a excessive hit within the sequence opener. Pittsburgh misplaced veteran ahead Brian Boyle within the first interval. Sullivan mentioned Boyle was being evaluated for a lower-body damage.

PREDICTING THE FUTURE?

Gallant mentioned earlier than the playoffs started that the one time house ice issues within the postseason is in Game 7.

“I hope I’m right,” Gallant mentioned. “We’ve played well in our building. And like I said, it’s a Game 7. Winner goes on. Loser goes home. So I think it’s going to be a great game.”

The Penguins, by the way in which, are unbeaten all-time (6-0) when taking part in Game 7 on the highway.



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