Patric Hornqvist scored a hat trick, and third-string goalie Jeff Zatkoff made 35 saves in his NHL playoff debut, as the Penguins beat the Rangers, 5-2, Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Henrik Lundqvist was injured in the 1st period, and is listed as day-to-day with an apparent eye injury.
Derek Stepan scored both New York goals.
Lundqvist was hurt with 48 seconds to play in the 1st period. Marc Staal was boxing out in front of the goal, and his stick caught Lundqvist between the bars of his mask and hit him near his right eye. Lundqvist was treated and stayed in the game, but 30 seconds later Hornqvist gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead with a shot that trickled underneath Lundqvist’s pads.
The Rangers were the more aggressive team in the 1st period, throwing shot after shot on the Pittsburgh goal, but Zatkoff was up to the task, making 12 saves in the period.
Antti Raanta started the 2nd period in goal for the Rangers in place of Lundqvist, and the pace of the game slowed way down. Late in the period, Hornqvist blocked a shot and passed the puck ahead to Sidney Crosby, who had gotten behind the Rangers’ defense. Crosby beat Raanta to the glove side for a goal that made it 2-0 at 18:56. It was Crosby’s 44th career playoff goal.
The Rangers had a huge opportunity early in the 3rd period, when Ian Cole and former Blueshirt Carl Hagelin were each called for penalties at 2:08, giving the Rangers a 5-on-3 for two minutes. Stepan scored a power play goal at 3:10 to make it a 2-1 game.
But the Penguins scored a shorthanded goal minutes later. Nick Bonino and Tom Kuhnhackl broke in on Raanta on a 2-on-1, and Kuhnhackl scored at 5:31 to make it 3-1.
The Penguins added a power play goal at 8:02 to make it 4-1. Crosby’s shot was stopped, but Hornqvist put the rebound in for his second goal of the game.
But the Rangers did not quit. Stepan scored his second of the game, taking the rebound of a Dan Boyle shot and scoring at 10:11 to make it 4-2.
Hornqvist added an empty net goal at 17:10 to complete his hat trick and make it a 5-2 final.
Game 2 is Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, as we await news of the extent of Lundqvist’s injury.