Penguins to face Rangers in Round 2 of Stanley Cup playoffs



Two nights after the Penguins clinched a spot in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, their opponent was determined.

The Penguins will face the New York Rangers, who advanced by beating Philadelphia, 2-1, Wednesday night in Game 7 of their first-round series.

The full schedule was not immediately released, but the first two games will be at Consol Energy Center, with the opener set for Friday night, according to The Associated Press.

The Rangers finished second to the Penguins in the Metropolitan Division this season, but they were a distant 13 points back.

The Penguins, who eliminated Columbus in the first round, are 4-0 against the Rangers all time in the playoffs, including three meetings in the second round.

In the first round of 1989, they swept New York in four games. In the second round of 1992, they won in six games en route to their second Stanley Cup title in a row.

In the second round of 1996, they won in five games. And in the second round of 2008, they won in five games on their way to the Cup final.

The Penguins were 2-1-1 against the Rangers, including 1-0-1 at home, in the regular season. They have not met, however, since before the Olympic break.

In those four games, Penguins winger Chris Kunitz had three goals, three assists, center Sidney Crosby had a goal and five assists, forward Jussi Jokinen had two goals and two assists, and defenseman Matt Niskanen had three assists.

For the Rangers in the four regular-season meetings, winger Benoit Pouliot had two goals and an assist; center Brad Richards and defenseman Ryan McDonagh each had two goals; winger Mats Zuccarello had a goal and three assists; and center Derick Brassard had a goal and two assists.

Pouliot played a key role Wednesday night in the Rangers’ Game 7 victory at Madison Square Garden, scoring the winning goal at 11:46 of the second period. Daniel Carcillo scored the Rangers’ other goal and rookie Jason Akeson made it 2-1 when he scored for the Flyers at 3:32 of the third period/

The Rangers shook off a 5-2 thrashing Tuesday night in Philadelphia and improved to 6-0 in Game 7s at Madison Square Garden.

Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves and protected the one-goal lead at 7:25 when he made an awkward save against Flyers captain Claude Giroux.

The Rangers mobbed Lundqvist after the final buzzer, while the Flyers consoled their goalie Steve Mason.

Mason, who didn’t start until Game 4 because of injury, was sharp in stopping 31 shots, but he couldn’t will his club to a complete comeback after the Flyers fell into a 3-2 series hole. The Flyers dropped to 9-7 in Game 7s after winning their previous three.

No team won consecutive games in the series. The Rangers, who finished two points ahead of Philadelphia in the regular season, made the most of their home-ice advantage by taking three of the four games in the Garden.

Carcillo, re-inserted into the Game 7 lineup, scored the all-important first goal 3:06 into the second off a pass from Zuccarello.

Zuccarello threaded the puck with a behind-the-back feed from near the right circle between the legs of Flyers defensemen Andrew MacDonald and Braydon Coburn to Carcillo for the redirection into the net.

It was the second goal of the series for Carcillo, who played for just the third time in the series and the first at home. Carcillo had come out of the penalty box less than a minute earlier after serving a penalty for too many men on the ice.

Pouliot made it 2-0 when he turned Brassard’s crisp pass from the right-wing boards to the slot into his second goal of the series.

Carcillo replaced J.T. Miller, who played for the Pittsburgh Hornets amateur team in the 2008-2009 season. Miller had played the previous two games. Carcillo’s teams are 3-0 in his career Game 7s, and he has scored in two of them. Carcillo had four goals in the regular season in 57 total games with Los Angeles and the Rangers.

The Rangers-Flyers series was unique in Round 1 as it was the only one that had no overtime games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly.


Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published April 30, 2014 9:51 PM

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