Despite seven power play opportunities, the Rangers only scored one goal with the man advantage, while the Penguins capitalized on their first two power play chances en route to a 4-3 win in Game 2, tying the series at one.
Derek Stepan opened the scoring with 2:55 left in the first period to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. While some Penguins went for a line change following a long sequence of pressure by the Rangers, Ryan McDonagh carried the puck through the neutral zone before laying a pass off to J.T. Miller at the blue line. Miller then fired a beautiful cross-ice pass to a streaking Stepan, who ripped a wrist shot past Marc-Andre Fleury’s blocker.
Shortly after hitting the post while shorthanded, Brandon Sutter tied the score on the power play at 9:59 of the second period. A shot by Chris Kunitz deflected up in the air off Penguins’ forward Steve Downie in front of the net, and Sutter was the first to react to the falling puck.
A little over three minutes after Sutter’s goal, Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins the lead, tapping home a loose puck into an open net. On the play, defenseman Ian Cole made a great seam pass to Patric Hornqvist in the neutral zone. After splitting past Dan Boyle and Martin St.Louis, Hornqvist threw a shot off Lundqvist that kicked out right to a wide open Crosby.
Crosby added to the Penguins lead with his second of the game with 1:14 left in the second period. Following a failed clearing attempt by the Rangers, Crosby broke through a hole in the Rangers’ coverage into the slot, where he one-timed a pass from Kunitz past Lundqvist while falling to the ice.
Derick Brassard cut the Rangers’ deficit to one 3:16 into the third period on the power play, sliding in a rebound from a Mats Zuccarello shot from the goal line. After Fleury stopped Zuccarello seconds earlier, Keith Yandle controlled the puck at the blue line before passing the puck back to Zuccarello. Though it’s easy to say because they scored, this was really the Rangers’ best power play of the night.
The Rangers were inches away from tying the score on multiple occasions, including on a shot by Stepan that hit the post on a power play shortly after Brassard’s goal. Also, with the Rangers shorthanded later in the period, Evgeni Malkin saved a goal for the Penguins by sweeping the puck off the goal line during a scramble in front of Pittsburgh’s net.
Kunitz deflated the Rangers’ hope for a comeback, scoring the Penguins’ second power play of the game with 10:19 left. Sutter made a strong play to carry the puck to the front of the net, creating a chance that rebounded right to Kunitz.
With the Rangers’ net empty and time running out, Rick Nash made it 4-3 with 5.1 seconds left, swiping a loose puck over Fleury’s left shoulder.
-Here are the possession stats from tonight’s game, courtesy of war-on-ice.com.
-Power play issues notwithstanding, the Rangers weren’t good enough at even strength. They were out chanced 14-9 at 5v5, and a late flurry while chasing the game in the third period skews their slight advantage in shot attempts, as you can see from the chart below.
-It’s unfair to single anyone out for the loss, but Kevin Hayes seemed to have a particularly rough night. He had a couple bad turnovers, missed chances, and was a team worst -5 Corsi For +/- at even strength.
-Game 3 is Monday night in Pittsburgh at 7 PM eastern.