Derick Brassard scored twice, including New York’s first power-play goal in 10 games, and the Rangers avoided elimination with a 5-1 victory over the host Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Friday night.
Brassard ended New York’s 0-for-36 slide with the man advantage by beating Marc-Andre Fleury late in the first period. Ryan McDonagh added another power-play goal in the second to help the Rangers force Game 6 in New York on Sunday.
Chris Kreider and Kevin Klein also scored, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31 shots.
Evgeni Malkin had his third goal of the series for Pittsburgh. Fleury made 30 saves but lacked the crispness that allowed the Penguins to win Games 3 and 4 in New York.
Pittsburgh Coach Dan Bylsma stressed the importance of not letting the Rangers back in the series, but the fire he was looking for came from the other bench.
Part of the jolt came from the presence of forward Martin St. Louis. The veteran arrived in Pittsburgh just hours before faceoff after spending the night in Montreal following the unexpected death of his mother, France.
St. Louis told his teammates his mother would have wanted him on the ice. He played 16 minutes and watched the line of Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot rediscover the success they enjoyed against Pittsburgh in the regular season and the series opener.
The linemates, who powered the Rangers to victory in Game 1, combined for seven points (two goals, five assists) to give New York a chance to buck team history. The Rangers have never rallied to win a series after trailing 3-1. Instead of panicking, they went out and executed against the decidedly sloppy Penguins.
at Minnesota 4, Chicago 2: Jason Pominville scored in the second period off the back of Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford's skate and the Wild evened the Western Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.
Matt Cooke returned from his seven-game kneeing suspension to give Minnesota a jolt, assisting on Justin Fontaine's opening goal. Nino Niederreiter and Jared Spurgeon also scored.
Crawford made 27 saves, but he gave up four goals for the second straight game.
Patrick Sharp snapped out of his slump by scoring for the Blackhawks and Michal Handzus had a goal, but the defending Stanley Cup champions again found themselves unable to establish a consistent attack against the Wild's stifling defense.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times