However, the game took on a very emotional meaning for the
Rangers when they learned of the unexpected passing of veteran right
winger Martin St. Louis' mother. The Rangers rallied around St.
Louis and played their best game of the series, staving off
elimination and beating the Penguins 5-1.
"You don't expect these things," said St. Louis. "It was a couple
tough days for my family, but I know deep down my mother would want
me to play this game. She'd be proud of me coming here and helping
as much as I can tonight. The boys are so supportive, the support
I've got from the boys, my friends and family ... is unbelievable."
Center Derick Brassard scored twice at even-strength and the
Rangers' much maligned power play accounted for two goals as well.
Before Game 5, New York's power play had been on an 0-for-36 skid.
Center Mats Zuccarello was also impressive, recording three assists.
With the win the Rangers improved to 8-2 in their past 10 playoff
games when facing elimination, including wins in three of five road
games dating back to 2012.
The loss for Pittsburgh was its first in regulation in these
playoffs; all three of its previous playoff losses had come in
"We didn't get a win at home and it's a missed opportunity Game 5
here at home," said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. "We have to turn
the page; we're going back to Madison Square Garden to win our
fourth one there."
It was the Rangers' striking first at 9:36 of the first period.
Center Chris Kreider made a diving poke-check to get the puck back
to defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who immediately fired a shot on net.
Kreider was able to corral the rebound of the McDonagh shot and
wrist it past Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to give the
Rangers the 1-0 lead.
"Definitely in the first period, we knew they were going to be
hungry and we didn't even come close to matching the desperation
that we needed," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. "That's
something we have to be much better at."
The team that scored first had won every game of the series, which
held true again in Game 5.
New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist had to be sharp in the minutes
following the Rangers goal, making several above-average saves,
including two point-blank stops on Crosby and center Marcel Goc.
"You definitely want to get that start where you feel like you're a
confident team, and the same thing goes for me, so it felt good to
make a couple of big saves early on, and you try just to stay
focused on the right things," said Lundqvist.
Those saves would prove to be key in allowing the Rangers to take a
2-0 lead at 15:23 of the first. Zuccarello fired a slap shot on goal
from the left faceoff dot that hit Fleury and bounced right to the
stick of Brassard, who then slid across the top of the crease,
untouched, and tucked the puck past Fleury on his backhand while
falling to the ice.
New York dominated the majority of the first period's play,
outshooting the Penguins 17-9.
[to top of second column]
Pittsburgh recorded its lone goal 3:23 into the second period thanks
to a great individual effort from center Evgeni Malkin. Skating down
the slot, Malkin split defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi and
wristed a shot on Lundqvist. The resulting rebound kicked out to the
right, but Malkin followed it, spun around, and threw a shot back on
goal from a nearly impossible angle that managed to slide under
Just when it looked as though the Penguins might be gaining some
momentum, the Rangers struck twice in less than a minute. First it
was Brassard putting the Rangers back ahead by a pair at 7:58 of the
second when he got his own rebound and roofed a shot from the bottom
of the right-wing faceoff circle over a down-and-out Fleury.
"We just made a play there and the momentum came back to our side,"
Only 50 seconds later, and just seconds after the Penguins had taken
a too many men on the ice penalty, the Rangers got their second
power-play tally of the game when McDonagh fired a slap shot past
Fleury from the right point.
With 1:49 left in the second, the Penguins were awarded an extended
two-man advantage, but failed to covert, taking several ill-advised
shot attempts that were easily blocked away. The Penguins had the
shot advantage 15-9 in the second, but found themselves trailing 4-1
at the end of two, a deficit upon which they would never improve.
Defenseman Kevin Klein added an empty-net goal for good measure at
17:31 of the third to seal the 5-1 win for the Rangers.
Lunqvist made 31 saves to earn the win, while Fleury turned aside 30
Rangers shots in defeat. Game 6 is set for Sunday night in New York
at Madison Square Garden.
NOTES: New York and Pittsburgh are two of just four teams, along
with San Jose and Detroit, to qualify for the playoffs in eight of
the last nine seasons. ... The Rangers are one of two teams -- and
the only Eastern Conference team -- to win a playoff series in each
of the past three seasons. ... The 15 shots allowed by the Penguins
in Game 4 was the fewest allowed in a playoff game in franchise
history. ... Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist made his 78th consecutive
playoff start. ... The Penguins lead the playoffs with three
short-handed goals. ... Scratches for the Penguins were D Brooks
Orpik (undisclosed), D Deryk Engelland, LW Tanner Glass, LW Taylor
Pyatt, RW Chris Conner, and G Tomas Vokoun. Scratches for the
Rangers were D Raphael Diaz, D Justin Falk, C J.T. Miller, RW Jesper
Fast and LW Daniel Carcillo. ... The official attendance was 18,633.
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