By VIN A. CHERWOO
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Evgeni Malkin scored on a deflection 5:58 into the third overtime, giving the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday night.
Jake Guentzel scored twice and Bryan Rust had a goal and two assists for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby also had two assists. Casey DeSmith had 48 saves before leaving the game midway through the second overtime. Louis Domingue, who appeared in only two games during the regular season, came on and had 17 saves.
On the winning goal, Malkin was positioned in front of the net when he tipped a long shot by John Marino over Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin.
“We know we can win every game if we play right, we play smart, we play hard,” said Malkin who also had an assist on Rust’s tying goal late in the second period. “I think we deserved to win tonight.”
Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist, and Adam Fox and Andrew Copp also scored for the Rangers. Mika Zibanejad had two assists. Shesterkin finished with 79 saves, second to the NHL record of 85 saves by Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo in the 2020 playoffs.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday night in New York before shifting to Pittsburgh for two games.
Shesterkin had a nice stick save on Rust 7:38 into the second overtime. Rust also had a shot off the post with 2:36 remaining in the period.
“It’s a playoff game against one of our rivals,” Rust said. “We knew it was going to be a good, fast, hard-hitting game, and that’s what we got.”
DeSmith left the ice during a stoppage in play near the midpoint of the second overtime, appearing to favor a leg at 9:18. He was replaced by Domingue, who had 14 saves in the period as the Rangers built a 19-17 advantage on shots.
“You think you would be nervous,” Domingue said. “That was just fun. … I was really mostly excited.”
The Rangers outshot the Penguins 12-9 in the first extra period. Guentzel had the best chance of the period, hitting a crossbar behind Shesterkin with 2:42 remaining.
Shesterkin made a sensational save on a shot by Kasperi Kapanen, snatching the puck out of the air while going down and doing a split with 5:08 left in the third, keeping it tied 3. It drew chants of “I-gor! I-gor!” from the Madison Square Garden crowd.
Filip Chytil nearly gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead with 3:10 left. Kaapo Kakko drove to the net, and he and Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin bumped into DeSmith. While falling to the ice, Kakko swept the puck back in front and Chytil put it in. However, the Penguins challenged and the goal was disallowed for goalie interference after a video review.
After getting outplayed in the first period, the Penguins came out strong in the second, outshooting the Rangers 17-3 over the first 10 minutes, and 25-8 for the period.
However, the Rangers took advantage of one of their chances as Copp got a pass from Ryan Strome and fired a slap shot from between the circles past DeSmith to make it 2-0 at 3:08. Copp, who had eight goals and 10 assists in 16 games after being acquired from Winnipeg at the trade deadline, returned to the lineup after missing the last two games of the season with a lower-body injury.
Seconds after Shesterkin made a stellar stop to deny Kris Letang, Guentzel pulled the Penguins within one as he tipped Crosby’s pass in front past the goalie at 4:32. It was his 27th career playoff goal in his 52 game.
Guentzel tied it with 8:13 remaining as he got another pass from Crosby and beat Shesterkin from the right side for his second of the night. His sixth career multi-goal game in the playoffs gave him 28 goals in 52 postseason games.
With the Rangers skating short-handed after Patrik Nemeth was whistled for holding, Kreider put the Rangers back ahead as he got a lead pass from Zibanejad, skated in and beat DeSmith from the right side with 2:53 remaining in the middle period.
The Rangers’ Jacob Trouba was then called for boarding, giving the Penguins a 5-on-3 advantage for 43 seconds. With seconds remaining on the first penalty, Rust tied it 3-all, tipping a shot by Malkin with 1:30 to go in the period.
The Rangers outshot the Penguins 15-10 in the first period. New York came out physical with 11 hits in the first nine minutes, and finished the opening period with a 19-10 advantage.
The Rangers got the first power play of the game when Teddy Blueger was sent off for slashing at 8:58. They capitalized just 21 seconds later as Fox got a pass from Zibanead above the left circle, skated to his right and fired a shot through traffic into the top left corner for his first career playoff goal.
Malkin tied Jaromir Jagr for third place on the franchise playoff goals list with his 65th. … Crosby now has 124 assists in the playoffs, passing Jagr for ninth place on the NHL’s career list. … Kreider got his 24th postseason goal, breaking a tie with Steve Vickers for the sixth place in franchise history.
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