The 2021-22 New York Rangers season was on the brink of expiration, and it all came down to last night’s game five against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was win or go home. And the Rangers have chosen to stay alive with a 5-3 victory.
Roller Coaster of Emotions
Through the entirety of the 60 minutes of last night’s game, the Rangers and Penguins were giving it their all. Especially the Rangers, who never quit and never gave up hope. Even after going down by two goals through the middle of the second period.
Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel snd Kris Letang potted both the Penguins’ goals in the first and second frames. This was all before the Rangers mounted an incredible comeback, scoring three times in a 2:42 span.
It was led by Adam Fox, who used patience to throw off Pittsburgh goaltender Louis Domingue. He has scored a point in each of the five playoff games in the series and has three goals and two assists.
And then, it was the “Kid” line once again, with Alexis Lafreniere getting a wide-open chance in the slot. The play was created by Filip Chytil, who drew the attention of both defenders and found his linemate open in front of the net. Lafreniere, with two goals and two assists, is really making the most out of this playoff series. He has fit into the pace and tenacity that a playoff series brings, and he has been an x-factor for the Rangers staying alive in this series.
To cap off the comeback, Jacob Trouba used some slick moves of his own to dance around Pittsburgh center Jeff Carter and fire a backhand shot through the five-hole of Domingue.
But, just a few short minutes later, the Penguins would get back on the board and tie it up with another goal from the best player of the series, Guentzel. He now has seven goals in the series, which is tied for other most in these playoffs with Kirill Kaprizov in Minnesota.
Finding A Way To Win
Tied at three apiece going into the third period, the stage was set for an epic conclusion to this game. And what an epic conclusion it was.
The hero of this game was Chytil, who blew the roof off of Madison Square Garden. He gathered the puck on a broken play outside of the right face-off dot, and he threw the puck upstairs on Domingue. He threw it so hard that he lost control of his legs with the shot and nearly fell after the puck left his stick. And, we got the iconic Sam Rosen call, as it was on the powerplay.
“I didn’t score so many goals during the season, I was thinking too much on my chances,” said Chytil. “So now I just close [my] eyes and shoot and score a goal finally. I’m so happy I could help the team.”
The warrior of this team, Ryan Lindgren, played his first game since being injured in game 1. He was an immediate impact, and he fit right in despite playing hurt. And if anyone on this roster deserved to seal the game with an empty-net goal, it was Lindgren. And he sealed it with under 20 seconds left in this contest.
The Rangers were dominant in almost every aspect of this game. They had more shots and hits than Pittsburgh, but the faceoff department was sorely lacking in this one, once again. A 39-19 faceoff deficit between the Penguins and Rangers was evident on the ice. Looking at the periods of play, the game was split right down the middle. Pittsburgh dominated the first half of this contest, but the Rangers could rally back and control the second half.
Despite all of that, the Rangers were able to get enough shots on the net to stay ahead of the Penguins and take this game away from them. Igor Shesterkin, who looked a bit more like himself at home, made 29 saves on 32 shots. It is all on him now to get his revenge on Pittsburgh in their own house. He allowed ten goals over the course of games 3 and 4 while on the road.
Still On The Brink
There is still no cushion for the Rangers despite winning last night’s game. It is still win or go home throughout the next two possible games. This next one, game 6, is the most important game of the season, as it comes at the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The momentum may have just switched to the Rangers’ corner, and it is apparent that this team is not just going to lie down and quit. With the series at 3-2, this one may have a serious chance of going to the seventh and final game. The next meeting between these two is Friday at 7 PM EST for game 6.