Two years ago, the Penguins blew a 3-games-to-1 lead against the Rangers. That loss in the playoffs likely sealed the fate of then Pens head coach Dan Bylsma, who was fired just five years after winning the Stanley Cup.
The Rangers had hoped to have a little bit of that magic again this year. These Penguins, however, were not the same team from 2014.
Before a raucous crowd at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, the Pens finished off the Rangers in convincing fashion – defeating the Rangers 6 to 3.
For the second time in the series, Henrik Lundqvist watched the end of the game from the bench — pulled after surrendering 6 goals to the high-flying Pens.
The game started off much differently than it ended for the Rangers. With their backs against the wall, the Rangers came out flying in the 1st period. The Rangers looked like the superior team for much of the first 20 minutes of the game — scoring the game’s first goal just a minute into the game.
The team’s went to the locker rooms after the first period tied 2 to 2. The second period, however, was a complete meltdown for the Rangers and Lundqvist.
The Pens hung four goals on Lundqvist in the 2nd period, two by speedy Conor Sheary, one by rookie Bryan Rust and one by the ageless wonder Matt Cullen.
The Penguins have long been overly reliant on its stars — Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin — to score. While both Crosby and Malkin enjoyed great series, the Game 5 win showed how the Pens could win without either getting pucks in the net.
Despite outshooting the Pens 41 to 28, the Rangers were unable to match the Pens on the scoreboard. Rookie goalie Matt Murray was once again called on to put this team on his back and he was more than up to the task — stopping 38 of the 41 shots the Rangers put on net.
The Penguins, notorious for under-performing in the playoffs the last few years, now await the winner of the Capitals-Flyers series.