York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) defends
the net against a shot at goal by Pittsburgh
Penguins center Maxim Lapierre (40) during the
second period of Game 1 in the first round of the
NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Thursday, April 16,
2015, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
— The New York Rangers wanted to jump right on the
Pittsburgh Penguins in their playoff series opener.
a goal at 28 seconds?
Brassard provided that, then Ryan McDonagh scored later in
the first period. Henrik Lundqvist made the goals stand up
as the Rangers shut down Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin
and won 2-1 Thursday night.
Game 2 is
in New York on Saturday night.
got things started when Marc-Andre Fleury sent the rebound
of Rick Nash's hard slap shot directly into the slot.
Brassard was uncovered for a quick wrist shot, the center
screaming in delight as the puck went in.
give a lot of credit to Rick," Brassard said.
"He didn't shoot to score there. He shot for a
rebound, he did it on purpose. It was just right there for
many other shots throughout the game as Fleury made 36
saves. The Rangers couldn't get to the loose pucks the
rest of the night.
got McDonagh's winner on their slumping power play, which
went 1 for 5.
third of four man-advantages — and the only one that
threatened — in the opening 20 minutes, McDonagh's
slapper from midpoint sneaked past Fleury.
York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) and
defenseman Matt Hunwick (44) defend the net against
a shot at goal by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman
Taylor Chorney (44) during the second period of Game
1 in the first round of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup
playoffs, Thursday, April 16, 2015, at Madison
Square Garden in New York.
put a couple goals there in the first period, and got the
crowd and momentum on our side," the Rangers captain
get the nerves out, you get the hits and the bumps going.
I thought guys were real good with the puck today for the
majority of the game."
usually dangerous Crosby and Malkin didn't have the puck
much — Crosby had only one shot, Malkin two — and
except for two strong shifts by Malkin in the third
period, they were neutralized.
thought the Penguins were tentative at the outset, and
their inability to keep the puck also wound up costing
best defense was puck possession," Crosby said,
"and holding onto it in our end. You have to get
pucks behind them and really work their D."
earned a fourth straight victory over the Penguins in the
postseason. The Rangers won the final three games of a
second-round series last year, rallying from a 3-1
compiling the best record in the NHL, the Rangers finished
15 points ahead of Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference.
But after the first period, these were two very even
teams, with Lundqvist and Fleury particularly outstanding.
Lundqvist finished with 24 saves, while Fleury was far
busier in making 36.
Comeau scored in the second period for Pittsburgh. He
knocked in a rebound with congestion around Lundqvist's
crease for his first career playoff goal. That perked up
the Penguins, with Malkin and Brandon Sutter getting
dangerous chances, and Lundqvist flashing his right pad to
thwart Maxim Lapierre.
Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate Pittsburgh Penguins
left wing Blake Comeau (17) goal during the second
period of Game 1 in the first round of the NHL
hockey Stanley Cup playoffs against the New York
Rangers, Thursday, April 16, 2015, at Madison Square
Garden in New York.
also was strong at the other end, which led to a tense,
scramble third period in which the goaltenders dominated.
Fleury lamented the quick error that put his team in a
hole it never climbed out of.
rebound was not where I wanted it to be," he said.
"I wanted to get it into the corner, but that is not
easy to do with a slap shot at that angle."
time the Rangers won the Presidents' Trophy was also the
last time they won the Stanley Cup, 1993-94, with a
star-laden lineup. This group doesn't have a Mark Messier
or Brian Leetch, but it is deep and resourceful.
made the finals before losing to Los Angeles a year ago
has given the Rangers a sense of confidence they'd lacked
for much of the interim. On Thursday, they showed it in
particular in shutting down Crosby and Malkin.
whose defense is ravaged by injuries, barely squeezed into
the postseason, needing to beat lowly Buffalo on the final
day. The Penguins also have the bitter memory of blowing
that 3-1 lead to New York last year. That was the only
playoff series in which the Rangers have beaten the
Lundqvist tied Walter Tkaczuk for the team record with 93
playoff appearances. ... New York had four power plays
before Pittsburgh got one. ... Comeau has 12
regular-season goals against Lundqvist. ... Penguins D Rob
Scuderi left early in the third period after going down
hard to the ice, then returned. Later, Rangers D Dan
Girardi had Chris Kunitz's shot deflect into his face.
Girardi went directly to the locker room and coach Alain
Vigneault said afterward that Girardi was being examined
by a dentist.