In yet another very close game the New York Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins by the score of 2-1 to cap the first round of the 2014-2015 playoffs. A consistent theme throughout round one, the Rangers were able to win out off a filthy short side snap shot from forward Carl Hagelin clinching the series.
The overtime winner is the second playoff overtime winner in two games, which hasn’t happened for the New York Rangers since the 1950 Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings. Hagelin’s goal was also the first O.T. winner at home for the Rangers since the iconic game seven winner by none other than Stephane Matteau against the New Jersey Devils.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist played very strong as he has all series making 38 saves on the night. The Rangers needed Henrik to be that rock in the first period when the Penguins tilted the ice toward the Rangers end. Henrik was very strong as the matchup turned into a Goaltenders duel. Derek Stepan broke the ice for the Rangers by scoring on the power play at 4:48 in the first period.
The Penguins playing their best game of the series utilized the open play eventually applying pressure to the Rangers, tying up the game off the stick of Nick Spaling at 17:23 of the second period. The tension did not let up down the stretch as both teams had their chances in the third that ended with the game tied 1-1. Dominic Moore coming into the game unheralded for his imposing presence, and strong play was the Rangers most dominant player down the stretch.
Moore was all over the puck winning every battle during the final sequence of the game, and inevitably found Haglelin for the series winner. The Rangers lost Matts Zucarello in the first period after taking a puck off of the face, seeking treatment for concussion like symptoms and did not return for the remainder of the game.
The Rangers will look forward to resting up before their next match up against the winner of the Washington Capitals- New York Islanders series. Caps lead the series 3-2.