Hossa’s OT goal gives Penguins 3-2 win, ends Rangers season
PITTSBURGH ” Marian Hossa scored his second goal of the game 7:10 into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied after giving up a two-goal lead to beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Sunday and advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in seven years.
Sidney Crosby began a rush into the Penguins end with a pass to Pascal Dupuis, who attempted to give it back to Crosby.
The puck trickled away but ended up on Hossa’s stick, and he beat Henrik Lundqvist from the slot for his fifth of the playoffs to end New York’s season.
The Penguins won the series 4-1.
The Penguins, the Eastern Conference’s worst team only two years ago, will meet the cross-state Philadelphia Flyers, the conference’s worst team last season, in the first all-Pennsylvania conference final.
The teams haven’t met in the postseason since the Flyers’ six-game victory in a 2000 second-round series best remembered for Philadelphia’s five-overtime win in Game 4, which occurred eight years to the day Sunday.
The Rangers, down 2-0 but desperate to swing the series back to New York for what would have been a Game 6 on Monday, got back into the game by scoring twice in less than 90 seconds to tie it early in the third.
Lauri Korpikoski, a 2004 first-round draft pick playing in his first NHL game on a hunch by coach Tom Renney, scored 2:03 into the period with only the second Rangers shot in nearly 17 minutes.
Korpikoski’s wrist shot from the right circle may have deflected off Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney, who chose not to come out to challenge only Korpikoski’s second career shot. Michal Rozsival, partly making up for his three penalties in the second period, got the first assist.
Given life in a game ” and a season ” that was beginning to look lost, the Rangers came back to tie it 1:22 later as Nigel Dawes scored on a backhander while cutting across the slot off Scott Gomez’s setup, a shot similar to that he missed in the game’s opening minute.
The turnaround appeared to stun the young Penguins and their towel-waving crowd after a dominating second period in which Pittsburgh outshot the Rangers 17-4 and held them without a shot for nearly 15 minutes.
The pivotal moment of the period may have been when New York’s Chris Drury was unintentionally clipped and bloodied by Penguins forward Ryan Malone’s stick in front of the Pittsburgh net only 92 seconds into the period.
Both benches seemed to expect a 4-minute high-sticking penalty ” play was stopped briefly to clean up the blood ” but there was no call.
There was one when Drury drew a high-sticking major, against Malone no less, late in the third, putting the Rangers in a precarious position to end the game and begin the overtime.
But the Rangers killed it off despite being down a man for the first 2:41 of the overtime, but the Penguins used the momentum they regained by constantly pressing on the power play to get Hossa’s game-winner a few minutes later.
Jaromir Jagr, the leading scorer in the playoffs with 15 points, didn’t get a goal in perhaps his last game for New York, though he told NBC that he wants to play for another four seasons and would like to stay with the Rangers.
He was a force throughout the game, drawing three of the first four penalties against Pittsburgh after getting three goals in the previous two games.
Hossa, casting aside his image of being a player who can’t score in the playoffs, made it 1-0 with a hard wrist shot from below the right circle 8:45 into the second after the Penguins quickly moved the puck from one side of the ice to the other on passes by Crosby and Malone.
Evgeni Malkin made it 2-0 about 4 minutes later with his fourth goal of the series and sixth in nine playoff games.
He carried the puck into the left circle following a faceoff win, lost it briefly while making a spin move, only to retrieve it while fending off Drury and threw a backhander past Lundqvist. Malkin gave Drury a hard shove as he began his celebratory fist pump.
But for all of their domination in the period, the Penguins couldn’t get the third goal that might have decided the series and, as they did in rallying from three goals down in Game 1 before losing 5-4, the Rangers had a comeback in them.
Notes: Pittsburgh is 37-1-3 this season when leading after two periods. … Korpikoski replaced F Colton Orr. … The Rangers went 0-2 in overtime playoff games this spring. … Before this season, Hossa had 13 goals in 55 career playoff games.
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