Fleury blanks Rangers again, Pens take 2-1 series edge
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his second consecutive shutout as the Pittsburgh Penguins posted a 2-0 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Fleury blanked the Rangers on back-to-back nights, helping the Penguins claim a 2-1 lead in this Eastern Conference semifinal series. He followed up a 22- save performance in Sunday's 3-0 win at Pittsburgh by stopping 35 more shots in Game 3 on Monday.
Sidney Crosby ended his 13-game playoff goal-scoring drought, but the woes continued for the Rangers' power play.
New York totaled 10 shots while finishing 0-for-5 on the power play and has failed to score 34 straight times with the man advantage.
"(Fleury) was solid all game long," Crosby said. "(New York) had a lot of power plays and he made some huge saves throughout."
Henrik Lundqvist faced only 15 shots and was beaten in the second period by Crosby and Jussi Jokinen.
The Rangers played on back-to-back days for the second time in these playoffs (Games 6 and 7 in the first round against Philadelphia), and Monday's contest was their fifth in seven days overall.
"We were forced to play a stupid schedule, five games in seven nights," said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault. "I'm proud of how our guys handled it. Now we get a full day to recover."
New York will look to even this series Wednesday night.
"It's first to four wins, we just need to take a deep breath here and regroup tomorrow and just get ready for the next one," Lundqvist said. "That's going to be a very important game for us. This is definitely not over. We're playing well and creating chances. There are a couple things we can probably do better. Let's not over think this, just take a day here tomorrow to reload and get ready for a very big game."
For the second straight night, the teams played a scoreless first period.
The frame wasn't devoid of action, starting with Lundqvist stopping Chris Kunitz on a short-handed breakaway.
Brian Gibbons failed to convert a prime chance, missing an open net off a setup from Crosby, and Fleury made a sparkling glove save to rob Mats Zuccarello on a rush.
Late in the opening period, the Rangers gained a four-minute power play because of a double minor against James Neal, who was penalized for high- sticking Jesper Fast.
New York hit the post twice during the man advantage, and Crosby finally broke through shortly after Pittsburgh killed the penalty.
Robert Bortuzzo sent a stretch pass from the Penguins zone to Crosby, who had a step on defenseman Marc Staal. The Hart Trophy finalist carried the puck into the left circle and fired a wrister through pads of Lundqvist at the 2:34 mark of the second period.
The Rangers nearly tied the game, but Zuccarello rang a shot off the crossbar.
After another futile power play, New York turned the puck over with an errant pass at the point. Jokinen stepped out of the box, collected the loose disc near the New York blueline and beat Lundqvist on a breakaway with 4:40 left in the second.
Fleury became the first Penguins goalie to record back-to-back playoff shutouts and the first to record two shutouts in a series ... Fleury extended a franchise record with his eighth career playoff shutout ... The Rangers were shut out in consecutive playoff games for the first time since the 1937 Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings ... Lundqvist played in his 77th career playoff game, surpassing Mike Richter for the most postseason appearances by a goalie in club history ... Jokinen extended his career-high playoff point streak to seven games ... The Penguins had only one third-period shot.
05/06 00:32:04 ET