If the 2014-15 Pittsburgh Penguins season had a tombstone, it would read “2-1”. Their 2-1 loss on Friday night in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden was their fourth loss of the series – all of which came with a 2-1 final, and for the second consecutive year, the Rangers ended the Penguins’ season.
The Rangers again got off to a strong start, scoring the opening goal for the fourth time in five games and outshooting the Penguins 12-6 in the first period. It was Derek Stepan that broke through on the scoresheet, finding the rebound of a Dan Boyle shot and pushing it past Marc-Andre Fleury.
For the Rangers, it was a power-play goal in a series in which their play with the man advantage has been their biggest – and maybe only – issue. They were 3-for-17 on the power play coming into Game 5.
The play was reminiscent of Kevin Hayes’s game-winning goal in Game 4, in which several Penguins defensemen were standing around as the Rangers
The Penguins battled back, peppering Henrik Lundqvist with 13 shots in the second period. At 17:23 of the middle frame, it wasn’t a traditional shot, but a deflection off the arm of Nick Spaling that finally found a way behind the Rangers goaltender.
The play was reviewed by referees and it was determined that “Video review supported the referee’s call on the ice that the puck deflected off Nick Spaling and into the New York net in a legal fashion,” according to the NHL’s situation room.
The game-tying tally was Spaling’s first goal of the postseason and was assisted by Steve Downie and Sidney Crosby.
In the third period, the Penguins pushed the Rangers as hard as they have all series, outshooting the Blueshirts by a 2-to-1 margin, but were unable to solve Lundqvist. A pair of crossbars, one hit by Crosby and one by J.T. Miller, also conspired to keep the score tired.
With the score tied after 60 minutes, the teams headed to overtime for the second consecutive game. Both teams had their chances in overtime, but it was Carl Hagelin that beat Fleury with a turning shot from the right-wing faceoff circle at 10:52 of the extra period to end the Penguins season and send the Rangers to the second round, where they will face the winner of the series between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals.
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