NHL Game Summary - NY Rangers at Pittsburgh
(Friday, October 2nd)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 3, NY Rangers 2
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby each scored a goal, as the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins began their title defense with a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers at Mellon Arena.
After a pregame ceremony in which the third championship banner in Penguins history was raised to the rafters, Marc-Andre Fleury helped Pittsburgh pick up right where it left off with 25 saves.
The Penguins lost the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago to Detroit but exacted revenge in last season's series, defeating the Red Wings in a classic seven- game thriller. It was the first title for the team since going back-to-back in 1991 and 1992, when the team sported another all-time great tandem -- Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.
Tyler Kennedy scored the other goal for Pittsburgh, while Alex Goligoski added two assists in the win, the Penguins' sixth straight at home versus the Rangers.
"We've got to find our consistency, but I thought we did a pretty good job executing," said Crosby.
New York's key offseason acquisition, former Minnesota forward Marian Gaborik, scored a goal in the loss while Chris Drury had the other for the Rangers, who fell in a seven-game conference quarterfinal to Washington last season despite holding a 3-1 series lead.
Henrik Lundqvist allowed three goals on 31 shots in defeat.
"I thought we did some really good things in the second period," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. "Had some chances to score some goals. I thought that was an important time. We needed to score some goals there when we had our chances and we didn't."
Drury went off for a holding penalty early in the first period, and the Penguins' power play took advantage. Sergei Gonchar gathered a loose puck just to the right of the slot area and pumped a slapshot that Malkin tipped past a screened Lundqvist at 7:48.
The Rangers, though, tied the game with 3:59 remaining in the opening frame. Former Canadien and Long Island native Chris Higgins knocked the puck out of the air in the left corner and quickly fired it toward the crease, where Drury deftly tipped it past Fleury.
New York had a power play chance at the end of the first period but could not convert. Fleury then kept the game tied with a spectacular glove save on a 2- on-1 chance for the Rangers 3 1/2 minutes into the second.
Pittsburgh emerged late in the second on a 3-on-1 opportunity, but the initial attack was thwarted by the Rangers' defense. Kris Letang retained possession behind the net and dished in front, where Crosby stuffed the puck into the net at 12:25.
The Penguins made it a 3-1 game just over a minute later, as Goligoski fired a wrist shot from the point that Kennedy tipped past Lundqvist.
The Rangers closed the gap early in the third period on Gaborik's tally at 5:56. Brandon Dubinsky fired a pass across the ice from the corner, and the puck tipped off Pens defenseman Jay McKee's skate and out into the slot. Vinny Prospal first missed the puck on his shot attempt, but Gaborik was right there to fire it past Fleury for a one-goal game.
Lundqvist was pulled with 1:20 left in an attempt to even the game, but the Penguins' defense was able to hold off the Rangers in the final moments to claim the victory.
Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma, who took over midway through last season, improved to 19-3-4 in regular season play with the Penguins...The teams split last year's season series, 3-3, with each team winning all of its home games...Malkin was last season's scoring leader with 113 points, while Crosby was third with 103.
10/03 01:43:13 ET