Brad Richards, center, celebrates his game-winning goal in Game 7.Credit: Getty Images
The Rangers rallied for their first-ever comeback from a 3-1 deficit and will be going to their second Eastern Conference finals in three years as a result.
New York got on the board first and held on to a one-goal lead in the final minutes to beat Pittsburgh, 2-1, Tuesday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Brian Boyle got the game started on a positive note for New York with a goal just 5:05 into the game.
Jussi Jokinen, who has bedeviled the Rangers all series, evened things up at 1-1 4:15 into the second. But the Blueshirts finally broke through on the power play minutes later.
Martin St. Louis dug out a puck behind the net and fed it to a rushing Brad Richards, who finished in front of the net to give New York a 2-1 lead at 7:56 in the second.
It was Richards’ first goal of the series and just his second point after posting a team-leading seven points against the Flyers.
The Rangers won three straight after the sudden death of St. Louis’ mother last week.
“It been a tough couple days,” Henrik Lundqvist told NBC postgame. “There’s so many emotions right now. ... We handled it the right way and we’re moving on to the next round.”
They will face the winner of the Bruins and Canadiens — who play in a Game 7 Wednesday night in Boston — in the Eastern Conference finals.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.