On the brink of elimination and their season on the line, the New York Rangers came out firing in the first period in a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins to even the series at 3-3.
Inspired by emotional leader Martin St. Louis, the Rangers fought for the 38-year-old on Mother's Day, just days after he lost his mother.
After dropping the first game of the series, the Penguins claimed the next three contests. But the Rangers have now won two straight to steal away momentum heading back to Pittsburgh.
Which team will win Game 7?
St. Louis came away with a goal along with Carl Hagelin and Derick Brassard—who scored his third in the last two games. Henrik Lundqvist put on a masterful performance, saving 36 of the 37 shots on goal throughout the night.
"This is a day that is special to me, obviously," St. Louis said to Katie Strang of ESPNNewYork.com. "To have my dad and my sister here, I think it helps the grieving process."
Fittingly enough, St. Louis would get the scoring started for New York early on in the first period.
After New York peppered Marc-Andre Fleury to start the matchup, St. Louis tapped in a shot in front of the net to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Scott Burnside of ESPN.com breaks down the goal:
With father and sister in attendance Martin St. Louis opens the scoring. Goal comes after tremendous pressure from Crosby line. 3:34 in.— Scott Burnside (@ESPN_Burnside) May 11, 2014
NBC Pro Hockey Talk also provides a video of the St. Louis goal:
Video: Martin St. Louis scores on Mother’s Day http://t.co/31bnXisZI7— NBC ProHockeyTalk (@ProHockeyTalk) May 11, 2014
The play from the start of the game was sloppy for Pittsburgh. Following a slow start in which they weren't able to control New York's onslaught, the Penguins couldn't get anything done on their side of the ice.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review summarizes the poor start for Pittsburgh:
If you’re scoring at home, @Penguins have now dumped puck into New York zone SIX times without coming close to touching it. No plan at all.— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) May 11, 2014
Hagelin would put his goal in with an unassisted backhand shot to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead midway through the opening period. But the Pens would show some life shortly after with a Brandon Sutter goal off a deflected shot with just three minutes remaining in the frame.
Pittsburgh's official Twitter account gives a replay of Sutter's goal:
The score remained 2-1 for the first 15 minutes of the second period. But a Brassard wrist shot changed that, giving the Rangers a two-goal lead.
The goal was assisted by Benoit Pouliot and Kevin Klein, giving Brassard his fourth goal of the series. Hockey Night In Canada tweets a video of the goal for Brassard:
While Brassard's goal would close the scoring for the night, it certainly didn't stop the action.
Near the end of the second period, Sidney Crosby started a tussle with Dominic Moore. After Crosby speared Moore in the groin, the Rangers player fought back and was brought to the ground by Pens players.
Crosby, likely frustrated with his play as of late, appeared agitated on the ice throughout the night. CBS Sports Eye on Hockey gives more information about the scrum:
GIF: Sidney Crosby spears Dominic Moore in groin, scrum ensues complete with Henrik Lundqvist water bottle squirt http://t.co/sjZrqHNemA— Eye on Hockey (@EyeOnHockey) May 12, 2014
Following the huge win by the Rangers, the series now heads back to Pittsburgh for the decisive Game 7 on Tuesday night a 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
Pressure appears to be mounting for the Penguins, who are under Stanley Cup-or-bust expectations annually.
But if Pittsburgh stars like Crosby and Evgeni Malkin play at a high level in Game 7, they'll likely advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
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