PITTSBURGH– The Pittsburgh Penguins scored five goals in the second period and extended their lead in the Eastern Conference First Round with a 7-2 win against the New York Rangers in Game 4 at PPG Paints Arena on Monday.
sidney crosby had a goal and two assists to reach 200 points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Penguins, the No. 3 seed in the Metropolitan Division. Crosby has 71 goals and 129 assists in 178 playoff games.
“I think everybody wants to play well in the playoffs,” Crosby said. “Just trying to go out there every night and compete. I thought tonight we generated some good chances as a line (with Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust) and executed on a few. Just want to continue the same way.”
Guentzel had a goal and an assist, and louis domingue made 22 saves to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Game 5 is at New York on Wednesday.
“We have a veteran group in there,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “These guys have been through this a lot. Everyone understands the position we’re in. We have to go out and earn the next one. … We’re going to stay right in the moment. We’re going to try to put our best game on the ice.”
[RELATED: Complete Rangers vs. Penguins series coverage]
Igor Shesterkin was pulled for a second straight game after allowing six goals on 30 shots for the Rangers, the No. 2 seed from the Metropolitan. Alexandra Georgiev made 10 saves in the third period.
“Disappointing,” New York coach Gerard Gallant said. “Total team disappointment. … It’s a team effort. [Shesterkin] will be back in there ready to win the next game on Wednesday night. I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him.”
The Penguins scored four straight after Alexis Lafreniere’s first career playoff goal gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead on the first shot of the game at 2:06 of the first period.
Video: NYR@PIT, Gm4: Penguins bury 5 goals in 2nd period
Crosby tied it 1-1 on a power play at 11:17. Guentzel deflected a slap shot from Kris Letang that became lodged under Shesterkin’s left pad before Crosby jammed it over the line.
Mike Matheson and Guentzel scored 24 seconds apart to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead early in the second period. Matheson put the Penguins ahead 2-1 at 3:14 with a shot that deflected off Rangers forward Frank Vatran‘s skate, and Guentzel tapped in a pass from Rust at 3:38.
Crosby had the secondary assist on Guentzel’s goal for his 200th playoff point. He is the sixth player to reach the milestone, joining Wayne Gretzky (382), Mark Messier (295), Jari Kurri (233), Glenn Anderson (214) and Jaromir Jagr (201).
The Penguins captain has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in this series, tied for second with Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand for the NHL lead.
“He’s playing really well for us,” Sullivan said of Crosby. “He’s played some real good hockey in the playoffs in my time here, so that bar is really high.… He’s playing an inspired game. He inspires the group just through his actions from him when he’s on his game the way he is right now .”
Mark Friedman extended the lead to 4-1 at 11:22 with a wrist shot glove side, but Adam Fox cut it to 4-2 at 14:04, spinning in the left face-off circle for a shot that went in off Matheson.
danton heinen made it 5-2 at 18:53 by deflecting a shot from Letang before Jeff Carter did the same on a shot from Jason Zuckerpushing it to 6-2 at 19:28.
The Penguins outshot the Rangers 16-11 in the second.
“We weren’t playing very good in front of [Shesterkin],” New York forward Andrew Copp said. “It definitely wasn’t on him at all. It’s going to be up to every guy in the room to pull together and do what we can to win Game 5.”
Yevgeny Malkin scored on a backhand at 12:22 of the third period for the 7-2 final.
“Obviously, [Shesterkin] is a heck of a goalie,” Carter said. “Arguably the best goalie in the League all year. So, we’re trying to make it tough on him, get pucks and bodies there. Luckily, we’ve had some success here.”
Video: NYR@PIT, Gm4: Malkin pots backhander
NOTES: The win was Sullivan’s 44th in the playoffs as Penguins coach, passing Dan Bylsma for the most in their history. …Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (lower body) did not play after being labeled a game-time decision for a second straight game. … Crosby’s power-play goal was his 20th in the playoffs, typing Kevin Stevens for third in Penguins history. He trails Mario Lemieux (29) and Malkin (28). … Guentzel is the first player in Penguins history to score in each of their first four games of a single postseason. … Vatrano, Fox and Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller were minus-3. … New York has been outscored 20-14 this series. It outscored Pittsburgh 11-4 in four regular-season games, winning three.