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New York Rangers force Game 7 against Pittsburgh Penguins

New York Rangers beat Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-1, avoid elimination again
Chicago Blackhawks take 3-2 series lead over Minnesota Wild

Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin scored 2:51 apart in the first period, and Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves and the New York Rangers avoided elimination again with a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night.

The matchup between the Metropolitan Division rivals will be decided in Game 7 at Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. The Penguins, who led the series, 3-1, failed in their first attempt to advance to the Eastern Conference finals with a 5-1 home loss Friday.

Derick Brassard pushed the Rangers' lead to 3-1 in the second period. Brandon Sutter scored the lone goal for the Penguins, who got 26 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury.

This was a far cry from New York's disheartening 4-2 home loss in Game 4.

The Rangers are 9-2 in their last 11 games when facing elimination, dating to Game 6 of the first round in 2012 at Ottawa. New York has never won a series it trailed 3-1.

New York scored the all-important first goal, St. Louis' third of the playoffs that had Madison Square Garden rocking just 3:34 in. New York had just withstood an extended period of time in its own end when Pittsburgh's crisp passing and forechecking kept the Rangers under pressure.

They got the puck up ice, and defenseman Anton Stralman ripped a hard drive from the high slot that caromed off Fleury. Derek Stepan swiped at the puck in traffic and knocked it off St. Louis' right leg and into the net.

The team that scored first has won all six games.

at Chicago 2, Minnesota 1: Jonathan Toews had a rebound goal early in the third period, and the Blackhawks beat the Wild to take a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Bryan Bickell also scored and Corey Crawford made 27 saves as Chicago bounced back from consecutive losses in Minnesota that handed the momentum to the Wild heading into Game 5.

But the Blackhawks were back at the United Center, where they improved to 6-0 in this postseason and 17-2 over the last two playoffs.

Erik Haula scored in the first period for the Wild, and Ilya Bryzgalov had 26 stops. Minnesota became the first team to score first in the second round of the NHL playoffs and lose, dropping that record to 19-1, according to STATS.

Game 6 is Tuesday night in Minnesota, where the Wild is undefeated in this postseason.

Minnesota had a chance to grab the lead in the third, but Crawford made a nice kick save on Cody McCormick about 2 1/2 minutes into the period. He also had a solid glove stop on Ryan Suter with the Blackhawks clinging to a 2-1 lead with 4:38 to go.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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