It was do-or-die time at the CONSOL Energy Center on Tuesday night, where the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers were set to battle it out in Game 7 for the opportunity to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Unfortunately for the home fans in Pittsburgh, the Rangers were able to rally back from their early deficit in the series to come back and win Game 7 to eliminate Pittsburgh from the playoffs and clinch their spot in the conference finals.
The Rangers got the scoring off to a quick start just over five minutes into the game, when Brian Boyle was able to sneak the puck past Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury for the game-opening goal. Dominic Moore and Derek Dorsett recorded the assists on Boyle’s goal.
New York carried the lead into the second period.
Four minutes in to the second frame, it was not one of the Penguins stars — Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin — that came up with a big goal, but the team’s leading postseason scorer, Jussi Jokinen. After assists from James Neal and Olli Maatta, Jokinen beat Henrik Lundqvist for his seventh goal of the playoffs.
Unfortunately for the Penguins and their home fans, the Rangers answered just a few minutes later with a power play goal from Brad Richards.
That left the Penguins with just 20 minutes to make up their deficit and find a way to come away with the win and advance to take on the winner of tomorrow night’s Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens.
Both teams picked up their intensity in the final period with quality scoring opportunities from both sides, with the Penguins nearly giving up an own goal that would have made it nearly impossible to come back and get the win.
However, the Rangers were able to hang tight on their own defensive ice to close out the win with their one-goal lead to clinch their spot in the Eastern Conference Final.