Share This Page

Defensive zone lapses lead to Rangers' OT win

| Friday, May 2, 2014, 10:18 p.m.

Derick Brassard got his first career playoff overtime goal. He was robbed of the chance to celebrate it appropriately.

Brassard ultimately was credited with the winner but only after fellow Rangers forward Benoit Pouliot also beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury seven seconds later. The NHL situation room quickly announced Brassard's goal counted, but the result remained the same: New York beat the Penguins, 3-2, in Game 1 of the teams' second-round series Friday night.

“I'm just happy that we win this game,” Brassard said in the locker room after his third career playoff goal. “It's obviously huge when you win the first game.”

The Rangers so wanted the series opening game that they scored the winner twice.

New York was dominating possession and zone time during its fourth shift of overtime — although the final seven seconds of it were erased from the books once the league credited Brassard with his first goal of the playoffs at 3:07.

Alone in the slot, Brassard flipped a wrist shot from just outside the crease over the stick of a diving Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and the right shoulder of Fleury.

The puck was still rising as it passed just under the crossbar. It hit the inside of the top of the net and deflected back into play.

Brassard raised his arms as if he'd scored, but ...

“The ref said it wasn't in,” he said.

“Didn't hear a whistle,” said Pouliot, who had the game's first goal. “The way the puck came out, I had no clue. I was right beside the net, and I still had no clue. You just have to keep going.”

The Penguins appeared disorganized to the point that the Rangers' chances kept coming. Pouliot eventually beat Fleury. This time, the officials acknowledged it, the red light went on and Pouliot celebrated.

“I found out later that Brass got the goal,” Pouliot said.

“Brassard got it?” New York center Brad Richards answered to a question from the media. “I didn't know that. Good for Brass.”

Even if Pouliot didn't put one in for good measure, eventually the winner would have been awarded to Brassard at the next stoppage when video review would have been used.

That would have left much of the ensuing chaos moot. But it doesn't make the final shift of the game any less inexcusable for the Penguins.

“It was kind of a scramble,” said captain Sidney Crosby, who was a minus-3.

“Just big pile of guys,” Fleury said, “and I was trying to find the puck out of it.”

The winning goal wasn't the only one by the Rangers that was aided by sloppy play by the Penguins in their own end. Richards made it 2-0 late in the first period by taking advantage of a blown assignment and some shaky coverage.

Carl Hagelin made Olli Maata look foolish by taking a puck off of him after Maatta had beat him to a loose puck deep in the Penguins' zone. Matt Niskanen abandoned his position to support Maata, but by then Hagelin had clear possession and was passing to a wide-open Richards just inside the left-wing circle.

With no Penguins player near him — Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were mere spectators — Richards had time to turn and get the puck to his forehand before depositing it behind a lunging Fleury.

Chris Adamski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

Related Content
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.