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Penguins halt Rangers comeback to take a 2–1 series lead

Rangers center Filip Chytil moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Danton Heinen during the loss on Saturday.
Rangers center Filip Chytil moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Danton Heinen during the loss on Saturday.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Penguins beat the Rangers on Saturday night to take a 2–1 series lead in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as the Blue Shirts failed to complete a miraculous would-be comeback in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins came out strong early in the game, and jumped out to a 4–1 lead into the 2nd period — but the Rangers fought back to tie the game at 4 before the final period of the contest. 

Despite the momentum shift, though, Pittsburgh scored the final 3 goals of the matchup, and won the crucial Game 3 matchup by a sizable margin, while dashing the hopes for the New York fans. 

The Rangers entered the playoffs as the 2nd seed in the Metropolitan Division with 10 points, while the Penguins fell to third with 103 points. The two teams will face off again in Western Pennsylvania on Monday night, before heading back to Midtown Manhattan on May 11 for Game 5 in the best-of-7 series. 

Brock McGinn opened the game with a goal against Rangers net-minder Igor Shesterkin in the 1st period on an assist from Jason Zucker, before Jeff Carter found the back of the net on a Power Play goal after Justin Braun went to the box for holding a Penguins player. 

The Rangers first found the scoreboard 5 minutes into the game, when Kaapo Kakko scored a goal assisted by Filip Chytil during a 2-on-1 break in the 1st.

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That 2–1 deficit for the Rangers quickly expanded, though, when Penguins forward Evan Rodrigues scored another Power Play goal on a long assist from goalie Louis Domingue, after Andrew Copp received a 2-minute penalty for high sticking Jason Zucker. 

With dimming hopes, the Rangers entered the 2nd period trailing by 3, yet still managed to tie the contest up and make the game competitive. 

Frank Vatrano and Artemi Panarin poured on the first two goals of the period, while Andrew Copp scored a short-handed goal with the assist from Kevin Rooney after a hooking penalty for Braden Schneider. 

The teams went into the 3rd period tied, but a strong end-of-game showing from 3rd-string goalie Louis Domingue, who entered Game 1 after injuries to both starting Pittsburg netminders, help propel the Penguins to victory. 

Danton Heinen, Jake Guentzel and Jeff Carter would all add scored for the team from Pennsylvania in the final period, while the Rangers were shutout from scoring — bringing a 7–5 win to Pittsburgh in the critical Game 3. 

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