Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Penguins one win from East final

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NEW YORK — Brandon Sutter scored a shorthanded goal to break a second-period tie and the Penguins moved within one win of the Eastern Conference final with a 4-2 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday night.

Evgeni Malkin scored 2:31 into the game and Jussi Jokinen made it 3-1 at 7:02 of the third for Pittsburgh before the teams traded late goals. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 13 shots as Pittsburgh won its third straight after losing Game 1 in overtime.

"It's a nice cushion you know, but nothing's done," said goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who, after shutouts in Games 2 and 3, allowed his first goal in 145 minutes, 30 seconds. "It's fun for now, it's a nice win. But get back at it Friday (in Game 5)."

Carl Hagelin's goal that tied it at 1 in the second period ended the Rangers' scoreless streak. But New York's 15 shots were the fewest the Penguins have allowed in their playoff history, the Rangers extended their power-play futility to 0-for-36, and the Madison Square Garden fans eventually showered the team — especially forward Rick Nash, goalless in 11 playoff games this year — with boos.

Coach Alain Vigneault asked for the fans' support. "We may not look it, but we're trying our guts off here," he said.

Penguins1124
Rangers0112
Penguins1124
Rangers0112

First Period1, Pittsburgh, Malkin 5 (Crosby), 2:31. PenaltiesHagelin, NYR (hooking), 7:37; Staal, NYR (slashing), 14:53; Kunitz, Pit (slashing), 18:52.

Second Period2, N.Y. Rangers, Hagelin 3 (McDonagh), 5:30. 3, Pittsburgh, Sutter 4 (Gibbons, Letang), 18:27 (sh). PenaltiesMalkin, Pit (tripping), 17:19.

Third Period4, Pittsburgh, Jokinen 6 (Neal), 7:02. 5, N.Y. Rangers, Zuccarello 3 (Stralman, Staal), 13:07. 6, Pittsburgh, Kunitz 3 (Malkin, Crosby), 14:04. PenaltiesKreider, NYR (high-sticking), 10:46. Shots on GoalPittsburgh 7-11-9—27. N.Y. Rangers 6-5-4—15. Power-play opportunitiesPittsburgh 0 of 3; N.Y. Rangers 0 of 2. GoaliesPittsburgh, Fleury 7-3-0 (15 shots-13 saves). N.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist 5-6-0 (27-23).

Late Tuesday: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews sat at his locker stall after a dispiriting Game 3 loss to the Wild in the Western Conference semifinals and all but said he saw the 4-0 wipeout coming.

The 2-1 series lead his Blackhawks held after the loss seemed to be of little solace to Toews, who hasn't seen the same kind of energy and explosiveness on offense that he expects from the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Chicago has just 61 shots on net in the first three games against a determined Wild defense, a troubling trend for Toews.

"We're still looking for the type of game we know we can play and we just haven't brought it yet," said Toews, whose team had 19 shots in Game 3.

The Wild should be even better equipped defensively for Game 4 on Friday with the return of forward Matt Cooke, who served a seven-game suspension for a knee-to-knee hit on the Avalanche's Tyson Barrie in the first round.

Around the league: Ron Hextall was promoted to general manager by the Flyers to replace Paul Holmgren, who was elevated to president. Hextall has the franchise's most career wins by a goalie and served as assistant GM this season. … The Blues extended coach Ken Hitchcock's contract through next season. No details were announced.

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