The Rangers blew a second period comeback attempt and dropped the pivotal game three and now face elimination in game four Thursday night.
The game was tied and the Rangers had full momentum until Ryan Hollweg, who had been a healthy scratch the past two games, took a boarding penalty on a hit to Petr Sykora. Hollweg’s shot especially hurt as the Rangers were in the middle of an offensive zone attack at the time. That penalty would be the difference as the Penguins put on a clinic wearing down Ranger penalty killers before Evgeni Malkin blast a shot to put his team ahead.
“It was not too smart on his part,” said defenseman Ryan Whitney. “Because of that, we were able to go into the third period with a lead.”
The Rangers weren’t out of it until Ryan Malone came out with an early third period goal off a deflection on a Kris Letang shot. With that goal the Pens were up 5-3 and even though the Rangers still had plenty of time left they played like it was a cold November night the rest of the night.
“I’m definitely proud of him,” said Crosby. “As a teammate, you always want to see other guys do well. He did that all season. It was a great accomplishment.”
Even with all of that fire power it was Marc-Andre Fleury who held it together for Pittsburgh. He continued his stellar play stopping 36 of 39 shots to improve to 7-0 in the playoffs.
The win puts the Rangers down 3-0 and right where the Penguins want them. The two teams will play Thursday night at the Garden. If the Blueshirts manage to stave off elimination the two teams will go back to Pittsburgh where the Pens will have three more chances on home ice to put the Rangers away.
“We are in a great position,” said Marian Hossa. “Nobody would think that we would be in this position after three games, but right now we are greedy. We want to win another one.”
After the game Jagr, who had a goal and an assist with 10 shots, reminded his team that just because their backs are against the wall they still have a chance.
“It’s pretty tough to be down 3-0, but they have to win four games,” said Jagr. “Even such a great team like the Yankees didn’t hold a 3-0 lead. They are the best ever. We can make history.”
During the second period of the game Chris Drury appeared to injure his shoulder. He returned to the game after leaving briefly, but he often had trouble handling the puck the rest of the way. Blair Betts also took a shot to the face during the second period and did not return to the game.
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