Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

From Both Sides - Rangers/Penguins

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

... Igor Shesterkin returned, too. He returned to the form that earned the 26-year-old finalist designations for both the Hart and Vezina trophies, putting those nightmares from Games 3 and 4 to bed for good. Shesterkin returned and so did the Rangers return to the template they rode to a 110-point season, that, by the way, has been fully validated.

This is their way. They lean on Shesterkin to the same degree as their forebearers once leaned on Henrik Lundqvist. They rely on their marquee forwards and their power play to make the difference. They do not surrender. They do not give up.

They are far greater than the sum of their parts.

“That’s our team,” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “We compete, we battle and we find ways to win games that maybe we shouldn’t have.”

Shesterkin was not the only Ranger to finish this series stronger than he had begun it. He grew. So did the indomitable Mika Zibanejad, whose right-wing rifle tied the contest 3-3 with 5:45 remaining in regulation. I have said this before, and it is true. There is no one you would rather have with the puck on his stick with the game on the line than No. 93.

more

from Mike DeFabo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

In Game 7 at Madison Square Garden, Rangers forward Artemi Panarin ripped a shot from the right faceoff circle that sailed through traffic for the decisive power-play tally. New York players poured off the bench in a blur of blue and red to dogpile the sniper in the corner, while the Penguins doubled over on the bench awaiting a handshake that would end their season.

And like that, for the fourth consecutive year, the Penguins’ postseason ended with a first-round flameout in the form of a 4-3 loss to the Rangers. New York became the first team in Stanley Cup playoff history to record three consecutive comeback wins in elimination games within the same series.

“We’re right there,” Penguins forward Jake Guentzel said. “We put ourselves in a good spot being up 3-1 [in the series]. It’s disappointing to think about that we had a lead in each game – and kind of gave that away.”

Given the uncertain contract status of Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang (not to mention Bryan Rust), it’s fair to wonder if this was not just the end of a season but also the end of an era. After hosting three Stanley Cup parades in Pittsburgh, there is no guarantee that Sidney Crosby’s two mainstays will be back for another season.

Could this be it?

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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