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NY hits late goal to force Game 7

by The Associated Press | May 14, 2022 at 2:19 a.m.
New York center Mika Zibanejad (right) celebrates with Chris Kreider after scoring for the second time in the Rangers’ 5-3 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of their Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Friday in Pittsburgh. Zibanejad and Kreider powered New York’s offense with two goals each. (AP/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette /Matt Freed)

PITTSBURGH -- Chris Kreider doesn't believe in dwelling on the past. There is only the next play for the New York Rangers' star forward.

It's why Kreider threw linemate Mika Zibanejad's iPad to the ground out of frustration after Zibanejad stewed over a breakaway during the second period against Pittsburgh's Louie Domingue on Friday night that ended up with Zibanejad hitting the post.

Kreider told Zibanejad to stop second-guessing himself. It was a good move. It didn't go in. It happens. Just keep playing.

So Zibanejad did. Kreider, too. And thanks to their relentlessness the resilient Rangers are heading back home for a Game 7.

The two longtime teammates scored two goals apiece -- including Kreider's blast from the point that hit Domingue high then sailed over the goaltender's head and rolled into the net with 1:28 remaining to lift the Rangers to a 5-3 win over the Sidney Crosby-less Penguins to push their thrilling first-round playoff series to the limit.

"Regardless of the situation, I'm proud of the way this team competes," Kreider said. "Whether we're down, whether we're up, we're trying to get to our game, trying to play the same way."

As they have done repeatedly throughout this topsy-turvy series the Rangers rallied from a multiple-goal deficit and will host Game 7 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden with some serious momentum.

"We battled back after (falling behind) and that showed some character in our group," Rangers Coach Gerard Gallant said.

A group looking to advance in the playoffs for the first time since 2017. New York will get a chance thanks to the play of Kreider and Zibanejad, four assists from Adam Fox and 31 saves by Igor Shesterkin, who rebounded from two shaky performances at PPG Paints Arena earlier in the series to silence the chants of "IIIIGOOORRRR" that rained down on him frequently.

"He battles, it's what he does," Kreider said of Shesterkin, a finalist for both the Vezina and Hart trophies. "He's been our best player all year and he continues to be our best player."

Pittsburgh's best player, by contrast, was forced to watch his team let a chance to advance slip away from afar. The Penguins played without Crosby, who is dealing with an upper-body injury that forced the captain to miss his first playoff game in five years.

PANTHERS 4,

CAPITALS 3 (OT)

WASHINGTON -- On the wrong side of a comeback effort this time, Florida rebounded in overtime and made sure it wouldn't need to go home to finish its first-round series.

Carter Verhaeghe scored the OT winner to send the Panthers to the second round by beating Washington in Game 6. It's the franchise's first playoff series victory since 1996 when Florida reached the Stanley Cup Final.

The Panthers are still eight wins from getting back to the final, but they will have home-ice advantage for their next series against either the cross-state rival Tampa Bay Lightning or the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Florida looked to be on the verge of a regulation victory when Gustav Forsling tripped Nicklas Backstrom with 1:09 left in the third period. T.J. Oshie scored 6 seconds into the Washington power play to send the sellout crowd of over 18,000 into a frenzy.

Those fans were silent after Verhaeghe scored his sixth goal of the series 2:46 into overtime. Verhaeghe, Florida's leading scorer in the series, missed the morning skate and was considered a game-time decision.

Lomberg scoring validated Coach Andrew Brunette's decision to insert him into the lineup in place of Anthony Duclair, who scored 31 goals during the regular season but had just one shot on goal so far in the series. The Panthers need offense wherever they can get it after again failing to score on the power play and extending their drought to 0 of 18 in the series.

Their most recent series win came June 1, 1996, when they beat Pittsburgh in Game 7 to advance to the final. The Panthers got swept by Colorado, starting what would begin a 26-year wait between series victories.

STARS 4, FLAMES 2

DALLAS -- Miro Heiskanen scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period for Dallas, which recovered after blowing an early two-goal lead and beat Calgary to force a deciding Game 7 in their first-round Western Conference series.

The first goal in these playoffs for Heiskanen came on a 40-foot shot with a bunch of traffic in front of Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom. That came with 2:28 left in the second period, in which both teams scored twice.

The series wraps up Sunday night in Calgary, where the Flames last hosted a Game 7 in 2006 and lost their first-round series to Anaheim. This is the third consecutive playoffs that the Stars will play a Game 7 -- they beat Colorado in the second round in the NHL bubble in Canada two seasons ago, and lost at St. Louis in a second-round series that went the full distance in 2019.

Roope Hintz and Michael Raffl also scored for the wild-card Stars, and Tyler Seguin added an empty-netter in the final minute. Jake Oettinger, their 23-year-old goalie who had never started a playoff game before this series, stopped 36 shots.


At a glance

NHL playoffs

FIRST ROUND (Best-of-7)

Friday ’s games

NY Rangers 5, Pittsburgh 3

Series tied 3-3

Florida 4, Washington 3 (OT)

Florida wins series 4-2

Dallas 4, Calgary 2

Series tied 3-3

Today ’s games

All times Central

Boston at Carolina, 3:30 p.m.

Series tied 3-3

Tampa Bay at Toronto, 6 p.m.

Series tied 3-3

Los Angeles at Edmonton, 9 p.m.

Series tied 3-3


  photo  A goal by Pittsburgh Penguins' Jeff Carter, rear, lands behind New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) during the first period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
 
 
  photo  Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Louis Domingue (70) blocks a shot during the first period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the New York Rangers in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
 
 
  photo  Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (71) celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
 
 
  photo  New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin collects himself after giving up a goal to Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
 
 
  photo  New York Rangers' Chris Kreider (20) returns to the bench after scoring against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
 
 
  photo  New York Rangers' Chris Kreider (20) returns to the bench after scoring against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
 
 
  photo  New York Rangers' Mika Zibanejad (93) celebrates with Chris Kreider (20) after scoring for the second time against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
 
 
  photo  New York Rangers' Chris Kreider (20) celebrates after scoring against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
 
 
  photo  New York Rangers' Mika Zibanejad (93) returns to the bench after scoring the first of his two goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
 
 

Print Headline: NY hits late goal to force Game 7

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