The Rangers forced a Game Seven against the Penguins, winning Game Six by a score of 3-1. The Rangers rode the emotions of the must-win game, but also have been quoted stating they are playing for Martin St. Louis, to not let him down. It’s only fitting that St. Louis got the crowd into it and set the tone for the game by getting to the net and scoring the first goal of the game. Carl Hagelin scored the eventual game winner just minutes later on a soft goal by Marc-Andre Fleury. Henrik Lundqvist was again phenomenal in this game, stopping 36 shots.
This game was not without its feisty-ness. While the Rangers are no saints, I would like to point out the Sidney Crosby nut shot to Dominic Moore, the Crosby slew foot on Dan Girardi, the Chris Kunitz cheap shot to Moore, and of course the Hank squirting Crosby with his water bottle. But yet the Pittsburgh media wants to call out Marc Staal for his cross check to Crosby. Yes, that was a penalty, get over it. It’s not like the Penguins are saints.
On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Pens 0
Chris Kreider made a solid play to get the puck deep into the Penguins zone after a long time in the defensive zone. Derek Stepan fought off Kris Letang behind the net. Stepan got the puck to St. Louis at the boards, who fed Anton Stralman at the high slot for a shot. His shot was blocked, but the rebound shot by Hagelin went off St. Louis’ leg into the net for the goal.
Rangers 2, Pens 0
Jussi Jokinen’s pass to Rob Bortozzo was stolen by Hagelin, who raced down the boards with Brad Richards on a 2-on-1 against Rob Scuderi. Scuderi blocked the pass to Richards, and the puck settled at the face-off dot. Hagelin collected the puck and put a backhander through Fleury for a goal that the netminder wanted back. I couldn’t get a good picture on this one, but the shot was not one that Fleury should have let beat him.
Pens 1, Rangers 2
Rangers 3, Pens 1
Derick Brassard continued his hot handed scoring ways, this time he whacked a puck out of mid-air while tumbling over Fleury to regain that important two goal lead. Klein began this play by hitting Brass to gain the zone, who then dumped the puck to Mats Zuccarello at the boards. Zuccarello fed Klein for a shot as he entered the zone, which was deflected by Benoit Pouliot with Brassard at the goal mouth. The shot was stopped, but Brass overpowered Sutter to get positioning and get to the puck.
Lots of score effects in this one. The Pens eventually wound up with a 54% Fenwick advantage (30-22 at even strength), but held just a two shot attempt lead at the time of the Brassard goal (21-19). Following that, the Rangers took just three more even strength shot attempts to the Penguins’ nine. The more telling stat here is the 5v5 Fenwick close (one-goal game or tied in the first two periods, tied in the third period/overtime), which the Rangers held the 54% advantage. That stat shows how the ice was tilted in the Rangers’ favor.
And so it comes down to a Game Seven, as it always does with the Rangers. Tuesday at 7pm, this series is a best of one.