An opportunistic Rangers squad took advantage of a sloppy effort by the Penguins in Pittsburgh as New York won Game 3, 2-1, Monday night.
The victory swings home-ice advantage back to the Big Apple as the Rangers prep for Game 4 in the steel city Wednesday.
Early aggression paid off, with the Rangers completely outworking Pittsburgh for the first two periods. Henrik Lundqvist was as solid (23 saves) as the New York defense curbed Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to preserve the victory.
Clinging to the slimmest of leads, the Rangers held their own against an onslaught from the Penguins during the last few minutes of game time.
Pittsburgh resembled a completely different team in the third period, outshooting New York 13-7 after the Rangers held the Pens to 11 shots in the first two frames (New York had 19). After a timeout with just 13.8 seconds left, the Rangers averted disaster as the clock hit zero before the Penguins could score the equalizer.
Carl Hagelin got the scoring started for the Rangers, giving New York its third straight first period goal in the three games of the series.
The Blueshirts opened a comfortable lead midway through the second, when Chris Kreider punched in a Mark Staal shot off the boards to beat Pittsburgh’s Marc Andre-Flurey a second time, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
The Penguins got on the board with just under seven minutes to go in the final frame, when an errant rebound after a Lundqvist save resulted in a Patrick Hornqvist goal to get Pittsburgh into striking distance.