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Sean Avery, Henrik Lundqvist Save Key Rangers Win Over Pens

Mike RappaportAnalyst IIMarch 18, 2008

Sometimes in a hockey game, you need to go on instinct, make a decision that could later be second-guessed. In tonight's Rangers-Pens game, Tom Renney decided to use his only timeout early in the second period after the Penguins scored two goals in 93 seconds to tie the game at 2.

The result: A rejuvanated Rangers team, and a Fredrik Sjostrom goal 44 seconds later to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead, and they never looked back.

Sean Avery scored two goals, giving him 10 goals in his last 15 games, and Henrik Lundqvist became the fastest goalie in Rangers history to record 100 wins as the Rangers won 5-2.

Avery did everything tonight, earning 1st star honors, and receiving chants of "Re-sign Avery" from the capacity crowd at MSG, sending a message to Glen Sather that he might have to give in to Avery's high demands for a contract extension.

After Avery made it 1-0 11:07 into the 1st period, Ryan Callahan put home a rebound off of a Chris Drury shot 40 seconds later to make it 2-0, which is how the 1st period ended. The only scoring for Pittsburgh came in the 2nd was the two quick goals by Pittsburgh, a breakaway goal by Jarko Ruutu off of a bad Rangers line change, and then Jordan Staal's rebound goal after confusion between Lundqvist and defenseman Fedor Tyutin in front of the goal. Sjostrom's goal after the timeout ended the scoring for the 2nd period with the Rangers clinging to a one goal lead. The Rangers stretched the lead to 4-2 as Avery was all alone in front of Penguins goalie Ty Conklin, and he buried a shot upstairs. Martin Straka then ended any hope of a Pittsburgh comeback by deflecting a Chris Drury shot home 5 minutes later.

The win was huge for the Rangers, as they are now only two points behind Ottawa for 5th in the conference, and also four points behind the Penguins for the 4th spot, which would guarantee them home ice advantage in the 1st round of the playoffs.

In addition, the Rangers can finally put behind them the lost weekend in Florida where they lost to the suddenly streaking Panthers, and the lowly Lightning.

The Rangers don't have much time to celebrate tonight's win, as tomorrow, they will go to New Jersey and battle the Devils, who are only five points ahead of them for 1st place in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.  


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