Crosby and Penguins have Rangers on the brink ahead of Game 5 | Radio WGN 720

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Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins were blocked by Igor Shesterkin during the regular season. They have now chased the Vezina Trophy runner-up New York Rangers in the last two games and are one win away after advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in four years.

They can do it Wednesday night in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden, where they won a split of the first two games.

After scoring just four goals against Shesterkin in four regular season games, the Penguins have torched him for 10 goals in three periods over the past two games. He left after allowing four goals in the first period of Game 3, then again after allowing six in two periods of Game 4.

“He’s probably very frustrated. There’s probably four goals that were deflected (Monday night),” New York coach Gerard Gallant said after the 7-2 loss in Game 5 before saying he intended to stay. with Shesterkin for Game 5. “He’ll be back there and he’ll be ready to win the next game on Wednesday night. I have all the confidence in the world in him. … He’s the best goalie in the league.

As surprising as Shesterkin’s fights are, so is Penguins goaltender Louis Domingue’s solid play. Pittsburgh’s No. 3 goaltender has been thrust into the spotlight due to injuries to starter Tristan Jarry and backup Casey DeSmith, and is 3-1 with a 3.40 goals-against average and save percentage. 0.906 stops.

The Penguins, in their 16th straight playoff appearance, also have plenty of confidence after their latest victory put them on the verge of progress for the first time since reaching the second round in 2018 after consecutive Stanley Cup championships.

“We have to stay hungry and stay in the moment,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “We’ve got veteran leadership, we’ve got a great group that’s had a lot of playoff experiences and they understand how tough it is. The game of eliminations is always the most difficult.

After totaling three goals and three assists in the previous three playoff series, Crosby has two goals and seven assists in this series. He expects Rangers to do their best.

“We know we have a lot of work left to do,” he said. “It’s a good hockey team. We definitely have an opportunity, but we know it will be a big challenge to go to New York.

CAPITALS at PANTHERS, series tied 2-2 (7:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN2)

The Panthers, winners of the Presidents’ Trophy, rallied in the third period of Game 4 to even the series and regain home-court advantage. They were league-best 34-7-0 at home for the season.

“I’m just happy that we won the game and that we can go home in front of our home fans and compete again with the series tied,” Verhaege said. “It’s a best-of-three now. We have the advantage of playing at home again, so that’s the thing I think about the most. »

One key stat to watch: Of the 277 times a best-of-seven series was tied after four games, the winner of Game 5 has advanced 219 times (79.1%).

The Capitals, the Eastern Conference’s second wild card, know they squandered a chance to take a decisive lead in the series. Instead, they’re even in a streak that has seen teams alternate wins.

“It was in our hands,” said forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, who gave Washington a 2-1 lead midway through the third period. “There is no panic. I still have a good chance. »

STARS at FLAMES, series tied 2-2 (9:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN)

Pacific Division champion Flames bounced back from back-to-back losses to even the series with a 4-1 win in Game 4.

Johnny Gaudreau scored his first goal of the series on a penalty shot in the third period and Calgary never trailed. Game 5 is Wednesday at the Saddledome, where the Flames went 25-9-7 in the regular season.

“It’s good to get this win, but I think the impetus is that we go home and play in front of our fans,” Gaudreau said. “Now it’s a three-game series.”

The Flames totaled just three goals while losing two of the first three games, but overtook that result with sustained pressure in the offensive zone in Game 4.

“We’ve had a lot of long shifts in their zone,” Calgary’s Rasmus Andersson said. “We haven’t taken too many penalties, so we’re playing 5v5 and that’s where we’re a very good team.”

Follow Vin Cherwoo at http://www.twitter.com/VinCherwooAP

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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