Good Morning
Good Morning

Sidney Crosby scores twice as Penguins beat Rangers, 4-3, in Game 2

Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins scores

Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins scores his first goal of the second period against Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, April 18, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

It's a best-of-five series now.

With a 4-3 loss to the more aggressive and opportunistic Penguins Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers and their foundering power play lost an opportunity to go up 2-0 in the best-of-seven first-round playoff series. Now they're headed to Pittsburgh tied at 1 with some adjustments to make.

Except for the power play -- which is 2-for-12 in the two games -- the Rangers looked like a different club from the one that earned a 2-1 victory in Game 1 on Thursday night.

Sidney Crosby, held in check in last year's second-round series won in seven games by the Rangers, had two goals. Chris Kunitz, installed on his line in Game 2 in place of Daniel Winnik, had a goal and two assists.

"They were better today at getting in front of the net and getting to loose pucks," said Henrik Lundqvist, who allowed four goals -- two on the power play -- on 22 shots.

The Rangers were 1-for-7 with the man advantage in Game 2, which they agreed was far from good enough.

"If we aren't getting the job done [at even strength], we have to get huge momentum off the power play," said Rick Nash, whose goal with 5.1 seconds remaining brought the Rangers within 4-3. "I think we were over-passing a bit tonight. We weren't working to get through the shot lanes and get the shots on net."

Derek Stepan, whose top- shelf wrister on a cross-ice pass from J.T. Miller gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 17:05 of the first period, said that on the power play, there are "a group of guys that have frustrated themselves and we have to go out and get some good mojo going, pop a couple in and relax a little bit. We've got a lot of guys who are gripping the stick and there's no need for that. We need to get some positive energy on it, zip it around and make some plays."

Derick Brassard, with assists from Mats Zuccarello and Keith Yandle, scored at 3:16 of the third period with Blake Comeau in the box, but that was after the Penguins raced to a 3-1 lead on a power-play goal by Brandon Sutter and two even-strength goals by Crosby.

"It's nice to get rewarded," Crosby said. "Sometimes in the playoffs, you play well and you don't get the result that you want. We just kind of continued from the end of the last game. I thought we were more aggressive toward the end of last game and we proved that here tonight."

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said the "key to the game were our four centers: Sid, Geno [Evgeni Malkin]. Then you look at LaP [Maxim Lapierre] and Brandon Sutter, who had a goal and assist. They are our primary penalty-killers. I thought those four guys deserve a lot of credit for how we got out of our zone real quick."

The lack of Rangers pressure, particularly in the first and second periods, was almost as troubling as the power-play woes.

"We didn't quite get to our forechecking and offensive- zone play as much as we'd like," Ryan McDonagh said. "So the rink was kind of cut in half for them a little bit at times."

As a result, for the fifth time in a series with the home-ice advantage since 1994, the Rangers could not find a way to win Game 2.

"They're a really good team," Lundqvist said. "We can't just look at what they did in the last couple weeks of the season," when the Penguins scrambled to grab the final wild-card berth, secured with a win over last-place Buffalo in the regular-season finale. "There are a couple things we can talk about, and go to Pittsburgh and try to get one on Monday."

New York Sports