New York Rangers win 5-3 in Pittsburgh to force Game 7

May 13, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate the game winning goal scored by Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers came through, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins on a Chris Kreider goal with only 88 seconds left in regulation. It was another nervewracking that saw the Rangers fall behind 2-0 in the first period, only to come roaring back to take the lead which they then surrendered within minutes. It wasn’t a perfect win, but it was enough to guarantee a Game Seven.

One question was how Igor Shesterkin would do, returning to Pittsburgh after being pulled in his last two games and allowing 10 goals. He was excellent.

The big question was how Sidney Crosby’s absence would affect the outcome. It did in numerous ways. Mika Zibanebad broke away from the shackles of trying to check Crosby to score two goals. Jake Guentzel failed to score for the first time this series. Perhaps most important was that the Penguins failed to score on three power plays including 67 seconds of five on three.

The Rangers had been waiting all series for ZIbanejad and Kreider to show the form that made them on of the most formidable duos in the NHL. This was the game as they combined for four goals and six points.

Before the game Zibanejad had admitted that he had probably been preoccupied with defending against Crosby and that he had hampered his offense. He was flying this game and had a team high six shots with two goals and two assists.

After the game, asked if it was hard to stay positive, Zibanejad said “I don’t think it’s easy because, then it would have been easy to stay positive through all this but I think I owe a lot of credit to the teammates… at the end of the day of the hard work is there it’s going to turn around eventually. ”

Kreider made a spirited defense of his friend, saying “Even when the pucks are not going in, he still does so many things that are unappreciated. It’s insane. I think the only people who can really see it are the ones who are maybe in our room who are understanding the game and he’s been getting his chances, you know he’s going to break through. I think sometimes the playoffs can reveal who you are and the kind of character you have and for him to stay with his game and continue to work… he’s been a huge leader for us all year. He’s been an absolute horse, he’s been our engine and you knew it was going to turn for him and he was going to have his moment and he’s certainly not done. ”

Kreider actually took the ipad from Zibanejad and threw it after the Swede hit iron on a shorthanded breakaway. His message to his linemate? Stop second guessing himself.

Adam Fox had a sublime game, notching four assists as he continued his dominant play.

Gallant could only laugh about the slow start. “It started out the same way as the other two games here. Fortunately we found a way to battle back again. It was good, we battled back after that, showed some character in our group, being down 2-0 it wasn’t looking good in the first. ”

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