The Rangers utilized the emotional energy flowing through their locker room as they beat the Penguins by a score of 3-1 in tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 6. Headlining the game was Martin St. Louis scoring for the Rangers on Mother’s day, just a few days after the death of his own mother.
St. Louis provided the energy for the team, and the crowd hopped onboard by chanting “Marty” consistently throughout the game. This gave the Rangers a much-needed boost in pushing the series to a Game 7.
Just short of 5 minutes into the first, a Derek Stepan shot rebounded off of Marc-Andre Fleury and ricocheted off of St. Louis’ shin guard and into the net, giving the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish. Henrik Lundqvist proved his dominance for the second consecutive game, allowing only one goal from the Penguins.
Carl Hagelin added to the lead with a backhander that slid between Fleury’s arm and body. After beating Defenseman Rob Scuderi to the puck in the Pens’ zone Scuderi failed to keep close coverage on Hagelin, allowing the shot on net to be had.
Late in the first period, Brandon Sutter continued his impressive playoff scoring pace as his shot pinball-ed in behind Lundqvist off of two defending Rangers. The goal gave the Penguins momentum entering the second period, but the Rangers were able to turn it in to scoring chances of their own.
At 15:30 of the second, a Benoit Pouliot shot was tracked by Fleury. But as Fleury went to cover the puck, it was swatted away by Derek Brassard. The puck popped up and Brassard punched it in front of the net, where he could knock it home with his stick. The determination showed, as Lundqvist and the Rangers shut down the Penguins for the rest of the game.
The best opportunity for the Penguins came late, as James Neal got loose in the bottom of the slot and wristed a shot off of Lundqvist’s shoulder. With the Rangers in control, the Penguins’ frustration was visible as they were again-and-again stymied by the Rangers.
Game 7 is scheduled for Tuesday in Pittsburgh. Look for another high paced game as these two teams show desperation to advance on to face the winner of the Bruins/Canadiens series in the Eastern Conference Finals.