Monday's NHL: Pens chase Shesterkin again for 3-1 lead; Avs sweep Predators
Pittsburgh — Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists to become the sixth player in NHL history to reach 200 career playoff points and the Pittsburgh Penguins throttled the New York Rangers 7-2 on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Jake Guentzel scored for the fourth consecutive game and Jeff Carter, Danton Heinen, Mark Friedman and Mike Matheson also beat Igor Shesterkin as the Penguins chased the Vezina Trophy favorite for the second time in three days to move within one game of advancing in the postseason for the first time since 2018.
Shesterkin, who dazzled by making 118 saves in the first two games of the series at Madison Square Garden, sat out the third period after giving up six goals on 30 shots. Alexandar Georgiev allowed Evgeni Malkin’s second goal of the playoffs in the third and could find himself the starter when the series heads back to New York for Game 5 on Wednesday.
Alexis Lafreniere picked up his first career postseason goal for the Rangers to give New York an early lead, but it didn’t come close to holding. Adam Fox’s second of the playoffs pulled New York to within two late in the second period, but Pittsburgh responded by pumping in two more past Shesterkin in the waning moments as the sellout crowd at PPG Paints Arena taunted the goaltender with chants of “IIIIIIIIGORRRR.”
Shesterkin, who limited the Penguins to four goals in four games during the regular season, surrendered twice that total in three periods in Pittsburgh as the Rangers – who entered the series as the favorites – limped to the cusp of a quick exit.
While Shesterkin has struggled, Pittsburgh third-stringer Louis Domingue is nearing local cult hero status while filling in for injured All-Star Tristan Jarry. Domingue made 22 saves to win his third game of the series. Not bad for a 30-year-old journeyman making his playoff debut after spending most of the last three seasons in the minors.
Jarry, who is recovering from a broken foot, is skating and faced shots during Monday morning’s optional skate. Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan hinted last week that Jarry could return if the series ran long.
Florida 3, (at) Washington 2 (OT): Sam Reinhart tied it late in regulation, Carter Verhaeghe scored his second of the game in overtime and the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in Game 4 on Monday night, tying the first-round series.
Verhaeghe scored 4:57 into overtime to keep the NHL’s best regular-season team from getting pushed to the brink of elimination. It’s a best-of-three series now with Game 5 on Wednesday night at Florida.
The Panthers were just over two minutes away from facing the prospect of getting knocked out at home. Then, with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky pulled for an extra attacker, Reinhart collected a loose puck after it bounced off Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway and beat Ilya Samsonov with 2:04 remaining in the third period.
Bobrovsky stopped 14 of 16 shots. Samsonov made 29 saves.
T.J. Oshie scored on the power play in the first, and Evgeny Kuznetsov put Washington ahead on a breakaway goal midway through the third.
Colorado 5, (at) Nashville 3: Valeri Nichushkin scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:58 left, and the Colorado Avalanche became the first team to advance to the second round by finishing a sweep of the Nashville Predators 5-3 Monday night.
The Avalanche now are in the Western Conference semifinals for a fourth straight season and second consecutive after sweeping their first-round opponent. They now get to wait for either St. Louis or Minnesota.
Andre Burakovsky had a goal and two assists, Cale Makar added a goal and an assist, and Devon Toews added a goal for Colorado. Nathan MacKinnon sealed the victory with an empty-net goal on the man advantage with 55.9 seconds remaining. Pavel Francouz made 28 saves.
Yakov Trenin scored twice for Nashville, which was swept for the first time in franchise history in its 15th playoff appearance. Filip Forsberg scored his first of the series giving Nashville its first lead this series at 3:58 of the third. Colton Sissons had two assists. Connor Ingram finished with 33 saves.
Calgary 4, (at) Dallas 1: Rasmus Andersson scored Calgary’s first power-play goal since early in the playoff opener, Jacob Markstrom had 34 saves and the Flames beat Dallas in Game 4 to even their first-round series.
Johnny Gaudreau converted a penalty shot with 12:13 left in the game to make it 2-0 Calgary, and later assisted on Elias Lindholm’s third goal of the series as the Pacific Division champions regained home-ice advantage over the wild-card Stars. Mikael Backlund added an empty-netter in the final minute.
Tyler Seguin had a power-play goal and Jake Oettinger made 50 saves for Dallas.
Game 5 is Wednesday night in Calgary.