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Rangers bring down penguins after Sidney Crosby escapes to stay alive

The Resilient Rangers are still here.

The Rangers averted exit in Game 5, capitalized on an injury to Star Penguins center Sidney Crosby – who left near the end of the second period – and earned a 5-3 18.006 win at Madison Square Garden in front of a packed house on Wednesday night.

Filip Chytil, who said during his pre-game media appearance that he was itching to get on the ice after Rangers’ non-appearance in Game 4, scored the decisive goal on a power play less than three minutes into the third period.

Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoff Series Round 1 takes place Friday night in Pittsburgh. Rangers, trailing 3-2 in the series, need to win at PPG Paints Arena, where they lost 14 goals overall in Games 3 and 4.

After the Penguins took a 2-0 lead, the kids went ahead for Rangers as they have for much of this series. Chytil’s Kid Line, Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko recorded two goals, with Lafreniere scoring the decisive goal in the second period, 16:41, after Kakko’s clever pass from behind the Pittsburgh net.

Rangers regained some at their back end when Ryan Lindgren returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with an undisclosed lower body injury. Lindgren, being his usual tough-as-nails self, capped the goal with an empty net 16 seconds from the end of the game.

Filip Chytil (center) celebrates his winning goal in Rangers' 5-3 Game 5 win over the Penguins with Frank Vatrano (right) and Andrew Copp.
Filip Chytil (center) celebrates his winning goal in Rangers’ 5-3 Game 5 win over the Penguins with Frank Vatrano (right) and Andrew Copp.
NHLI via Getty Images

Igor Shesterkin had the Garden crowd sing his name before the national anthem was even played. The fans in attendance surely knew how much their star goalie needed a little pep talk after being substituted in the previous two games. Shesterkin made 28 saves in the win, including 12 in the third period.

The Garden crowd seemed to lose hope after Kris Letang’s one-time rebound of a feed from Evgeni Malkin at 7:58 of the second period gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Pittsburgh plugged every lane, blocking shot after shot and marginalizing Rangers in all three zones.

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But when Crosby walked into the dressing room at 6:32 in the center frame after absorbing a hard strike from Jacob Trouba, things suddenly opened up for Rangers, who scored three goals in a 2:42 span.

Kris Letang celebrates after scoring a goal against Igor Shesterkin during the Rangers' Game 5 win over the Penguins.
Kris Letang celebrates after scoring a goal against Igor Shesterkin during the Rangers’ Game 5 win over the Penguins.
NY Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Conicidence? Probably not.

After spending some time in the offensive zone, Adam Fox wired a high-glove to Louis Domingue to reduce the Rangers lead to 2-1 and wake up every Blueshirts fan in the building. Behind the Pittsburgh net, Kakko then even fed Lafreniere up front. Lafreniere continued to feed the crowd and pumped his hands up as he celebrated his second goal of the series.

Trouba rode the Rangers’ momentum, driving to the net and finishing with his backhand to give his team their first lead of the night at 5:53 p.m. However, the Penguins re-tied it 13 seconds later when Jake Guentzel buried another from the slot.

Rangers struggled just 24 seconds after the puck drop when Chris Kreider fired a crushing penalty and Trouba was elbowed to give the Penguins an early five-three lead. Pittsburgh didn’t benefit but seemed to be building momentum as Rangers didn’t score a single shot on target until seven minutes.

Guentzel collected his own rebound and set it off from below Shesterkin’s goal line to open the scoring with his sixth straight goal at 10:28.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/11/rangers-topple-penguins-after-sidney-crosby-exit-to-stay-alive/ Rangers bring down penguins after Sidney Crosby escapes to stay alive

JOE HERNANDEZ

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