NEW YORK – Sidney Crosby woke up, and so did the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Crosby scored twice and the Penguins evened their first-round playoff series with the New York Rangers with a 4-3 win Saturday night.
The Rangers won Game 1 by making Crosby virtually invisible and keeping Evgeni Malkin out of the danger zone. On Saturday, both of them and the Penguins as a whole showed more jump, possessing the puck and keeping New York off-balance. Forcing turnovers in the decisive second period, shutting down the Rangers’ power play and generally controlling the pace, the Penguins got even.
“You play well, that’s all you want,” the Penguins’ star center said. “We wanted to make sure we went home with one.”
Crosby, naturally, was at the center of the turnaround. He broke a 1-1 tie by knocking in a rebound of Patric Hornqvist’s shot in the second period. Then Crosby made a diving deflection past Henrik Lundqvist of a pass from Chris Kunitz on the right wing boards following a Rangers giveaway in their zone.
At that point, Crosby had four shots on goal in the series, with two going in.
“There’s always pressure to score,” said Crosby, who had 28 goals and 84 points this season.
Game 3 is Monday night in Pittsburgh. New York had the league’s best road record this season while also winning the Presidents’ Cup for top overall record.
“It’s important in the playoffs to make sure you can play in a home building and in a road building,” Derek Stepan said. “We have to make sure we get ourselves refocused and get ourselves ready for Game 3.”
The Rangers have not won a home Game 2 since beating Vancouver in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals.
Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, while Lundqvist had 18.
The resilient Rangers got back in it early in the third period on, of all things, their previously sputtering power play. Derick Brassard knocked in a rebound from short range after strong pressure with Blake Comeau penalized early in the third.
Derek Stepan hit the goal post on the first shot of another power play less than three minutes later. And while killing a penalty, Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin both couldn’t get to a loose puck behind Fleury in the crease.
“I thought our second power-play unit was effective for us when it was out there,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said.
Ducks 2, Jets 1
In Anaheim, Jakob Silfverberg scored the tiebreaking goal with 21 seconds to play as the Ducks rallied from another third-period deficit for a victory over Winnipeg taking a 2-0 lead in their series.
Lightning 5, Red Wings 1
In Tampa, the Lightning’s Ben Bishop stopped 24 shots for his first NHL playoff victory, a win over Detroit that evened their opening-round Eastern Conference series at one game apiece.
Blues 4, Wild 1
In St. Louis, Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals in the first period and then had an empty-netter for his first career playoff hat trick, leading the Blues to a victory over Minnesota that knotted the Western Conference series at a game apiece.