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Rangers cap comeback, top Penguins 2-1 in Game 7

Rangers Close Out Penguins

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Henrik Lundqvist set an NHL record with his fifth straight Game 7 victory, making 35 saves to lift the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night and earn a spot in the Eastern Conference finals.

Brian Boyle and Brad Richards scored for New York, who rallied from a 3-1 series deficit for the first time in the franchise's 88-year history.

The Rangers did it behind Lundqvist, who stopped 102 of the final 105 shots he faced over the final three games as New York advanced to the conference finals for the second time in three years.

The Rangers will play the winner of the Bruins-Canadiens series in the conference finals. That series is tied 3-3 and Game 7 is Wednesday night in Boston.

Jussi Jokinen scored his team-high seventh goal of the postseason for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury made 18 saves for the Penguins, who were outscored 10-3 over the final three games.

The Penguins fell to 2-7 all time at home in Game 7s, including three such losses in the past four seasons.

This one might have been the most painful for the core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and coach Dan Bylsma that seemed pointed toward a dynasty after winning the 2009 Stanley Cup.

Crosby, who led the league in scoring and is an MVP finalist, managed just one goal in 13 playoffs games.

Just as importantly, five springs have now come and gone without Pittsburgh getting a Cup to bookend the one they hoisted in Detroit and changes could be on the way.

The Penguins are just 4-5 in playoff series over the past five seasons, with each loss coming to lower-seeded teams.

There are no such Game 7 issues for the Rangers. Not with Lundqvist in net.

He lost his first Game 7 appearance to Washington in 2009, but has been unbeatable ever since. His fifth straight triumph in a deciding game is a new league mark, breaking a tie he shared with Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour and Cam Ward.

When he's atop his game, Lundqvist doesn't need much help.

He didn't receive much from the guys in front of him, though New York - which was outshot 36-20 - didn't waste a pair of golden opportunities provided by Pittsburgh defensive breakdowns.

Boyle quieted a raucous crowd 5:25 into the game at the end of a pretty breakout.

Derek Dorsett hit Boyle streaking across the Pittsburgh blue line and Boyle tapped it between his legs to Dominic Moore, who waited a split second before sending it back to Boyle.

The veteran forward's shot went between Fleury's legs and the Rangers were in a spot they've become plenty comfortable in during Game 7s over the past three seasons: in front.

The Penguins responded by briefly taking over the game, their momentum cresting 4:15 into the second period when Jokinen pounded home a rebound off an Olli Maatta shot to tie the game.

The goal seemed to get the Penguins almost too keyed up. Matt Niskanen went to the box for tripping and New York's power play, which was laughable when the series began, provided the clincher.

Pittsburgh's Brian Gibbons failed to get his stick down on a crossing pass from Brandon Sutter, nullifying a short-handed chance.

The Rangers took off the other way, and with the Penguins still scrambling to get back into position, Richards took a pass from Martin St. Louis and flipped it into a wide-open net to make it 2-1 before the game's midway point.

Lundqvist did the rest.

He robbed Pittsburgh's James Neal at the doorstep late in the second period and fought off swarm after swarm over the final 20 minutes to improve to 10-2 with the Rangers facing elimination. New York beat the Penguins in the playoffs for the first time in five postseason meetings.

The first four series weren't close.

This one didn't appear to be either until the Rangers rallied behind St. Louis. The veteran forward, acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay, lost his mother suddenly last week. He raced home to Montreal to be with his family only to return for Game 5. New York responded with a 5-1 win that signaled a sea change in the series.

The Rangers controlled Game 6 - with St. Louis scoring the first goal on Mother's Day - and Game 7 was more of the same.

NOTES: Pittsburgh's power play, which tied with Washington for tops in the league in the regular season, finished the series 1 for 20. ... The Rangers are 8-1 in their past eight Game 7s. ... Richards remained unbeaten (7-0) in Game 7s in his career.

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jjjterciak May 14 2014 at 12:54 AM

NO SWEAT

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ursini55 May 14 2014 at 9:16 AM

as a Pittsburgh fan...WHAT A FRIGGIN' CHOKE JOB. "Crysby" needs to look no further than the mirror; what a pathetic performance. We stunk the place up.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Kathy J May 14 2014 at 8:56 AM

I am a Flyers fan. So I don't think I need to say much more other than, I don't like the Rangers but am so glad they beat the Pens and Crosby. Who I might add only had 1 goal in 2 rounds, ha ha. Now go cry Sid!!!

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turqea.blue May 14 2014 at 8:30 AM

GO RANGERS GO!! NYC LOVES YOU!!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
pobo52 May 14 2014 at 8:23 AM

Blysma's style of hockey has had it's chance over the last four years and has proven it doesn't work in the playoffs. Playoff hockey is about intensity. Style points are not awarded. 50 foot shoots my mother could see coming, over-passing and no-look passes to nobody coupled with an inability to get in front of the net for rebounds and muck it up cost the Penguins. With the star-power they have they should have cruised through this series.

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Joanne May 14 2014 at 7:41 AM

have to say the penguins are pathetic. not a leader on the team including the 2 overpaid bookends! they make me sick and are embarrassing to associate them with a team that Lemieux played for. period!

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drnumemup May 14 2014 at 7:37 AM

What happen to the great Sid the Kid? He's a winer!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Ronnie May 14 2014 at 9:20 AM

Get rid of CROSBY (Crysby). He had it at one time but now he's not worth the 8.7 million they're paying him. The team is alloted 64.3 million for their players salaries of which 23.45 million divided among Crosby, Letang and Malkin and the rest, 41 million, is left to divide among the remaining 32 team members. The PENG-WHINES need to save 8.7 mil and get a real player.

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2 replies
fishingal0926 Ronnie May 14 2014 at 10:00 AM

A "real" player? LOL - what are you on today?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ilvpa1 Ronnie May 14 2014 at 10:19 AM

Couldn't care less who won this game. Playoff hockey is a different animal than regular season and the Penguins have never been able to adjust, except for their run at the cup in '09 which they won. As far as Crosby is concerned, you're right, he hasn't shown up during the crunch times the last two years. And finally, idiot Ronnie, Crosby earned his cry-baby reputation from his first year in the league and that rep was well deserved. But after Lemieux sat him down and gave him an ear full and told him to shut the hell up and let your talent instead of your mouth come through, he really hasn't said much, even though at time he takes a real beating on the ice with players that try to neutralize him. Crosby is a little like Pete Rose.......when he's on the other team you hate him, when he's on your team, you love him. Something tells me you'd give up your best player to have him on your team. Now go whine somewhere and stop wasting everyone's time here.

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Joi May 14 2014 at 4:16 AM

Am a Chicago Blackhawk fan first, hate Philadelphia (all of it's Teams) and hate Boston's too, 'cept for the N.E. Patriots. Philly got killed, great, but Boston's still alive. I like all Canada Teams, it's where Hockey came from basically, and if the Canadien's can't kill 'em, I sure hope the Rangers can. I like the Penguins and Rangers so didn't care who won in this spat. I know I'd love for my Blackhawks to win the Stanley again in Boston as we rub the Bruins faces into the ice but I'd like another Team to do it now so they can experience the glee. Go for it Rangers!! Beware of my Blackhawks yet tho'.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
JOSEPH R GRECO May 14 2014 at 2:55 AM

RANGERS HAD THIS ALL THE WAY!

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