Game starts with Sidney Crosby centering a line with Chris Kunitz and Patric Hornqvist against Derrick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, and Chris Kreider. Before the puck drops, Kreider would set the tone with his usual antics trying to bump and put his stick into Hornqvist.
Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust returned to action with the third shift for the Penguins playing on a line with the Energizer Bunny (Conor Sheary). It was a quick shift without any fireworks.
A few shifts later, Malkin and Sheary returned to the ice, this time with Crosby at center. The unit out on the ice with Kris Letang would see a give-n-go between Malkin and Letang to get a quick shot on a goal by Letang.
The action seems to always follow Letang, this time, almost not so good as a right point shot is blocked to the neutral zone between Letang and the plodding Olli Maatta. Derek Stepan split the defensemen and appeared Maatta was just a step too slow allowing Stepan to get inside position into the zone but Jeff Zatkoff stood tall and ate up the shot.
Period ended with Zuccarello and Hornqvist penalized for matching roughing minors, though referees missed a blatant punch by Kreider while Horny was engaged with the mini-mite.
Period doesn't start too good as both teams are skating 4-on-4 with Hornqvist and Zuccarello sitting in the penalty box and right off the faceoff, Rick Nash (Mr. October) has breakaway and backhand is stoned by Zatkoff.
Zuccarello gets out of the box and goes right back into it as Sheary is hooked down for the Penguins second power play of the game.
Rangers trying to be aggressive on PK get burned as Letang backhand pass up left-wing boards to Bonino, who shifts down to smartly draw the defense tighter and slides the puck over to Daley who gives it back to Kessel for the slam dunk goal. 1-0 Penguins.
Look at this goal. Just look at it. pic.twitter.com/aJS9LkZzQz— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 16, 2016
J.T. Miller draws hooking penalty behind the net on Brian Dumoulin to give New York their first power play of the game at 8:47. The Penguins easily killed the penalty with just one shot on goal.
Rangers make it 1-1 with 7:22 left in the period off the draw as Miller finds Keith Yandle in backdoor as Eric Fehr is caught looking and lost his man.
Then just 18 seconds later, Derrick Brassard blows by a flat footed Maatta (this is concerning) to get another breakaway for the Rangers and Brassard made it count upstairs over Zatkoff's right shoulder for the 2-1 Rangers lead.
Play went to video review as Penguins challenged the play being on-side and referees ruled on-side.
Here’s the NHL’s new blue line camera at work pic.twitter.com/mOh1YkySug— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 16, 2016
The momentum continued for New York in the Penguins zone as Rust is penalized for interference against Marc Staal, though Pens survived the kill and out of the box Rust gets a breakaway but he is denied by Lundqivst.
Rangers 3-1 with 3:08 to play in the second as Miller finds a wide open Zuccarello for the one-timer.
What a pass…daaaaamn pic.twitter.com/rM2YR1MKWZ— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 16, 2016
Puck management hasn't been good for the Penguins, which isn't a good sign since Mike Sullivan was unhappy with their decisions in game and that's allowed them to be caught looking instead of being in the initiating side of the puck.
A visual of the Penguins not so good second period.
Can the Rangers keep up that pace for another period?
The answer is yes as another terrible turnover by Trevor Daley gives Kreider an easy look to wrist the puck past Zatkoff just 39 seconds into the period. 4-1 Rangers
Not much went right for the Penguins, especially Letang as he got into a little scrum and punched Nick Bonino in the face missing the Ranger.
Lovejoy turnover gives Rangers chance to counter forcing Crosby to slash the skates of Stalberg. It doesn't hurt the Penguins as Kreider continues to keep at it as he bumps into Zatkoff for the goaltender interference penalty.
While skating 4-on-4, Malkin draws cross-checking penalty on Yandle to give Penguins a 4-on-3 power play.
Bonino and Kessel work their magic again. Bonino started with a faceoff win back to Letang, who moved it over to Malkin and he didn't waste any time moving it to Bonino down low. Spin backhand pass later, Kessel is firing another into the net. 4-2 Rangers
Phil Kessel gets his second of the day pic.twitter.com/itnmTVwlq2— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 16, 2016
Penguins had a lot of momentum and thankfully Lovejoy got away with a hit from behind.
The hit that may or may not have shaken up Stepan in the corner pic.twitter.com/xQdqKHUem5— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 16, 2016
Shift later, Kunitz runs Staal then catches him with a slash that Kevin Klein didn't appreciate with the rare playoff fight. Advantage Penguins as Klein goes off for five minutes since Kunitz wasn't doing much in the game.
Sullivan pulled Zatkoff but a few late saves by Lundqvist kept the game in New York's favor.
Post-Game Quick Hits
- Kessel's two goals continued his strong playoff production with points in 17 of 29 games.
- Looked like Eric Staal had some right shoulder discomfort late in third period and Derek Stepan didn't return after taking the hit by Lovejoy.
- Three Stars at CEC: Miller 1st, Brassard 2nd and Kessel 3rd
- Penguins finished with 31-28 lead in shots, 2/5 PP but key were the 10 giveaways.