Rangers hammer Penguins to extend series

New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis spent Thursday night with his family in Montreal, grieving the loss of mother France after she passed away suddenly.

PITTSBURGH — New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis spent Thursday night with his family in Montreal, grieving the loss of mother France after she passed away suddenly.

When Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told St. Louis perhaps the veteran forward should remain at home rather than help the Rangers try to fend off elimination against the Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis and his father held a lengthy heart to heart.

Hours later, St. Louis was in Pittsburgh. By the end of the night he was near tears after an impassioned team effort in a 5-1 victory that forced Game 6 in New York on Sunday — Mother’s Day.

“I’m glad we’re able to get this win and stay alive,” St. Louis said. “She was a great lady, the best human being I’ve ever known in my life. I owed it to her to do it. I know she would have wanted me to play.”

Buoyed by the return of their teammate, one who has fit in quickly after being acquired from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline, the Rangers shook off a lethargic loss in Game 4 by blitzing the Penguins early.

Derick Brassard scored twice, including New York’s first power-play goal in 10 games. Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein added their first goals of the post-season for New York while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31 shots.

St. Louis had one shot in 16:19 of ice time, all of it with his mother in his thoughts.

“She was with me the whole way but this is probably the most comfortable place you can be as a hockey player,” he said.

The Rangers certainly looked at ease while the Penguins failed to win a close-out game for the sixth time in their last seven chances on home ice. Evgeni Malkin had his third goal of the series for Pittsburgh and Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves but lacked the crispness that allowed the Penguins to sweep Games 3 and 4 in New York.

While Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma stressed the importance of not letting the Rangers back in the series, the fire he was looking for came from the other bench.

Pittsburgh committed a pair of sloppy penalties the Rangers finally turned to goals and couldn’t convert a lengthy 5-on-3 power play late in the second period as they tried to climb out of a three-goal deficit.

“At the start I think we played like a team that looked like we had an automatic bid to the next round,” Pittsburgh defenceman Rob Scuderi said. “When it’s 2-0 right off the bat and you’re playing from behind it’s not easy.”

The Penguins held the Rangers to a 15 shots in Game 4, a franchise record for fewest shots allowed in a playoff game. New York had 17 in the first period Friday night.

Having its beleaguered power play finally look competent helped. The Rangers hadn’t scored with the man advantage since Game 2 of the first round, an 0-for-36 stretch that often featured disinterested or disorganized play by New York whenever an opposing player skated to the penalty box.

Kreider ended the miserable run 9:36 into the first period after Pittsburgh defenceman Robert Bortuzzo was called for delay of game for lazily flipping a puck over the boards in the Penguins’ zone despite having no pressure on him.

Playing in his second game after missing more than a month with a hand injury, Kreider threaded a rebound from the bottom of the left circle in a small hole between Fleury’s right pad and his blocker to give the Rangers their first lead in more than 180 minutes of play.

Brassard made it 2-0 just over 5 minutes later, diving across the Pittsburgh crease to bang home Mats Zuccarello’s rebound.

The Penguins seemed to regain their swagger in the second period and Malkin cut the lead in half at the end of a thrilling burst in which he beat two Rangers to the net and did a 360- degree spin before slipping his own rebound by Lundqvist.

The momentum didn’t last. Brassard roofed a shot through a scrum in front of Fleury to make it 3-1 and McDonagh scored his first goal of the post-season with a shot through traffic from the point after Pittsburgh was whistled for too many man on the ice, the kind of untidy mistake the Penguins had avoided while winning three straight to take command of the series.

Now it’s back to Madison Square for a series that suddenly looks competitive.

“I don’t think there’s much good to take from it to be honest with you,” Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby said. “So I think we have to make sure we come with the right mindset going to New York. Whatever mindset we were tonight it wasn’t enough.”

NOTES: The line of Brassard, Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot combined for seven points (two goals, five assists). … Pittsburgh forward Jussi Jokinen’s points streak ended at eight games. … Pittsburgh scratched D Brooks Orpik, who appeared to suffer a lower-body injury in Game 4. … The Rangers are 5 for 47 with the man advantage in the playoffs.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mason Ward battles with a Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward during the WHL Central Division season opener. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers come back to spoil Red Deer Rebels home opener

It’s been nearly 345 days since the Red Deer Rebels last played… Continue reading

Students walk into Hunting Hills High School, which is one of the Red Deer Public Schools with solar panels on its roof. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school was placed in lockdown following potential threat

Hunting Hills High School was placed in a lockdown Friday after Red… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some details of the provincial government’s 2021-22 budget need to be ‘sorted out’ when it comes to the hospital expansion funding. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More detail needed regarding hospital funding, says Red Deer mayor

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some information is unclear regarding the… Continue reading

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Need a knife? There are knives of all shapes and sizes at The Kitchen Store.
Hints from Heloise: Finding a good set of kitchen knives

Dear Readers: A good set of knives in the kitchen is a… Continue reading

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships Thursday, July 25, 2019 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

New York Red Bulls midfielder Jared Stroud, right, vies for the ball against Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio during an MLS soccer match in Harrison, NJ., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. Entering his ninth season with Toronto FC, Jonathan Osorio said his off-season regimen was no different than in the past. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Veteran TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio looks to take it to the next level this season

Veteran TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio looks to take it to the next level this season

Powell, Lowry help depleted Raptors beat Rockets

Powell, Lowry help depleted Raptors beat Rockets

Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen (19) makes the save on Toronto Maple Leafs' Zach Hyman (11) as Tyson Barrie (22) defends during third period NHL action in Edmonton, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. Toronto continues to lead the North Division standings, but hard-charging Edmonton is now just four points back on the all-Canadian circuit heading into a three-game series between the teams in Alberta's capital beginning Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Maple Leafs, Oilers set for key three-game series atop North Division

Maple Leafs, Oilers set for key three-game series atop North Division

Angela James stands on centre ice in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs team after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame before Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday November 6, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Hall of Famers James, Lowe, Hay named to Order of Hockey in Canada

Hall of Famers James, Lowe, Hay named to Order of Hockey in Canada

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse talks to center Aron Baynes (46) and guard Norman Powell (24) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris O'Meara
Nurse, five Raptors assistants sidelined to due COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Nurse, five Raptors assistants sidelined to due COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Most Read