PITTSBURGH (AP) – Kevin Hayes scored at 3:14 of overtime to give the New York Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference first-round series.
The Rangers lead the series 3-1 heading back to New York for Game 5 on Friday night.
In overtime, Martin St. Louis started a goalmouth scramble when he threw the puck in front on a wraparound attempt. The puck pinballed to Carl Hagelin and went across the crease for Hayes to flip it past fallen goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The point was Hayes’ first in the postseason.
New York’s Derick Brassard tied it at 1 with 2:45 left in the second period with his third goal of the series. Patric Hornqvist opened the scoring at 2:22 of the first period.
Fluery and New York’s Henrik Lundqvist each made 22 saves.
The Penguins are a loss away from elimination after dropping consecutive home playoff games to the NHL’s best regular-season road team. The Rangers have won 12 of their last 13 on the road, allowing 15 goals.
Nine of the last 11 playoff games between the two teams have been decided by two or fewer goals, including four one-goal games in this series.
Hornqvist nearly ended it in the final minute of regulation, but Lundqvist denied him with a sliding save and Dan Girardi swept the rebound away from a gaping net.
The Penguins got the start they wanted when Hornqvist redirected Ben Lovejoy’s point shot through Lundqvist’s legs. They dominated the first 10 minutes, buzzing the Rangers’ end and peppering Lundqvist with the first six shots. It was a stark contrast from the first three games of the series when New York outscored Pittsburgh 4-0 in the opening period and limited the sluggish Penguins to 13 shots during that span.
It took the Rangers 11:35 to register their first shot on goal Wednesday, one game after Pittsburgh needed 15:10 for its first shot of the game.
The Penguins continued to press in the second period, but couldn’t pad the lead. New York, which scored the opening goal in the first three games of the series and held a 2-0 lead in two of its wins, tied it when Brassard poked at the puck until it went across the goal line. Rick Nash started the sequence with a bad-angle shot from the corner that caromed off Fleury and fell to the ice.
NOTES: Evgeni Malkin became the fifth player in Pittsburgh history to appear in 100 playoff games. Sidney Crosby played in his 99th and Fleury his 97th. Malkin has gone nine straight games without a point and 14 in a row without a goal. … The Penguins lost four straight home playoff games to one team for the first time in team history. … D Derrick Pouliot (upper body) sat for the Penguins and D Kevin Klein (broken arm) for the Rangers, though both are close to playing. … F Beau Bennett, F Craig Adams, D Scott Harrington and D Christian Ehrhoff were scratched for the Penguins, while the Rangers sat D Chris Summers and C James Sheppard. … The Rangers entered the game 1-12 in games played after taking a lead in a playoff series since 2012 and had lost four of five with a chance to take a 3-1 lead.
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