Game 1: Penguins edge Rangers on disputed interference call
They trailed by three goals less than four minutes into the second period.
Their incensed coach was screaming at anybody within sight.
The white-clad sellout crowd that has come to worship them had been stunned into silence.
And the Penguins were laughing.
"We were kind of joking around," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "We were talking about a game last week that we watched in Ottawa, the one that Calgary came back to win after San Jose took a 3-0 lead.
"We were saying, 'Ah, the 3-0 lead is the worst lead in hockey.' We were kind of chuckling about it."
To borrow one of legendary broadcaster Mike Lange's catchphrases: The Penguins were smiling like a butcher's dog Friday night after center Evgeni Malkin deflected a point-shot from captain Sidney Crosby past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with 1:41 remaining in regulation for a 5-4 victory against the New York Rangers at Mellon Arena.
"I was staying in the crease area with no energy at all," Malkin said. "Practices were tough this week."
Malkin's third goal of the playoffs came on a power play -- the Penguins' fifth, and it did not please Rangers coach Tom Renney.
New York forward Martin Straka was penalized for interference at 16:40 after colliding with Crosby in the neutral zone on an up-ice rush with right wing Marian Hossa.
"What did I think of the call on (Straka)?" Renney said before pausing deliberately. "Draw your own conclusions."
Well, there is this undeniable one: The Penguins lead a best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series, 1-0, with Game 2 Sunday at Mellon Arena.
Renney first raised the issue of Crosby embellishing to draw calls Thursday. His players brought up that point again last night.
"Crosby embellished," right wing Brendan Shanahan said.
"I was kind of expecting something like that," captain Jaromir Jagr said.
"I just saw him, and he was diving, and that was it," said Straka, who was assessed a game misconduct after time expired.
Crosby's take on the controversial sequence: "I just saw (Hossa) block a shot. I just tried to basically catch up to him, and I just ended up falling. I don't know what I tripped over -- whether it was (Straka's) stick or skate. I think he was just trying to get back and get position on me."
The Penguins were in poor position after left wing Sean Avery's fourth playoff goal staked the Rangers to a 3-0 lead at 3:37 of the second period.
Avery is to the Rangers what left wing Jarkko Ruutu is to the Penguins - a proven pest, to be sure, but one who is scoring key goals in the playoffs.
Ruutu's second in as many games pulled the Penguins to within 3-1 at 8:13.
Left wing Pascal Dupuis's first goal of the postseason came only 14 seconds later.
Hossa tied the score, 3-3, with his second playoff tally at 4:40 of the third period. Right wing Petr Sykora pushed the Penguins ahead only 20 seconds after Hossa's goal.
Sykora has scored four goals in five playoff games.
New York center Scott Gomez tallied his fourth playoff goal off a pass from Jagr, who recorded two assists, at 10:04.
But, really, that flurry of scoring -- five goals in a game-time span of about 22 minutes -- will be less remembered than Crosby's alleged dive and the power-play goal it set up to cost the Rangers.
Orpik suggested Game 2 will look a lot different than an exciting series opener.
"There were a lot of momentum swings," Orpik said. "It was an enthusiastic win. But we realize it was not our best performance, and (the Rangers) are probably saying the same thing.
"I think you can count on the rest of the series being a lot tighter."
Show commenting policy
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.
- Ex-teammates say Kessel unfairly criticized
- Newest Penguin Kessel’s unique shot is what makes him so special
- Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August
- Penguins’ Kessel ‘thrilled’ with chance to play with Crosby, Malkin
- Hurricanes owner rips Rutherford, Penguins
- Penguins sign defensive prospect
- Penguins get their man in making trade with Toronto for Kessel
- Penguins notebook: Rutherford proves savvy in deal
- Downie, Ehrhoff lead list of likely Penguins leaving in free agency
- Starkey: Rutherford hits jackpot with Kessel
- Starkey: Kessel worth Penguins’ inquiry