Resilient Rangers even series with Game-2 win.

After a disappointing game-one defeat in triple overtime at the hands of their old Patrick Division rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday night’s game-two was a must-win for the New York Rangers. After losing game one at home to a combination of backup goalies featuring Casey DeSmith and Louis Domingue, the Rangers couldn’t afford to go to Pittsburgh down 0-2.

The war of attrition is underway as both teams would start game two with new players inserted into the lineup due to injuries. New York would enter the game without top-pair defenseman Ryan Lindgren and veteran Swiss army knife Barclay Goodrow. The Penguins would be without standouts Rickard Rackell and Brian Dumoulin and turn to veteran journeyman Louis Domingue for a start between the pipes.

After a disappointing start to the series for his standards, Artemi Panarin helped New York jump out to an early first-period lead with a primary assist on an Andrew Copp goal. The trade deadline addition continues his stellar play since coming over from Winnipeg. Copp has two goals in the first two games of the series and 20 points in his first 18 as a Ranger. In the lineup for the injured Lindgren, Justin Braun also got an assist on the play. Another March 21st acquisition by GM Chris Drury, Braun has played sparingly since his short commute up the Jersey Turnpike, but he stepped into the lineup Thursday night without any rust. The Drury deadline additions were on full display in game two. Frank Vatrano had two assists and a goal, Copp scored once, and Braun added an assist to the impressive group’s night. Panarin would collect another assist and a goal in the game for a 3-point night. Albeit the goal resulted from a pass that deflected off the skate of a Pittsburgh defender. The Penguin’s first goal directly resulted from a Breadman’s neutral zone turnover.

While Pittsburgh would only muster up two goals, they were berating Igor Shesterkin with high-quality chances throughout the contest. Most of those high danger shots came from the Penguin’s top line led by Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. The Ranger’s only answer for the future Hall of Famers line was Igor. The final score would be 5-2 in favor of New York, but Crosby made it close at the end of the second period with his first goal, making it a 3-2 game. During the intermission on the TNT broadcast, Wayne Gretzky himself said that the impending 3rd period was the most important period of the season for the Rangers. During that crucial third period, Igor Shesterkin proved why he is this team’s MVP and the future Vezina Trophy winner. He stopped Crosby and Malkin on point-blank shots and held the Rangers above water until they scored the final two goals to put the game out of reach. After a franchise-record 79-save performance in game one, Shesterkin again gave New York every chance to win the game. This time his teammates helped him out.

It should not surprise anyone that the Rangers responded to Tuesday night’s heartbreaking defeat with a win. The club has shown its resilience all season long, especially after disappointing losses. While the Blueshirts came away with a 5-2 victory in a must-win game, head coach Gerard Gallant still thinks they can play better and that the team has not played a complete game yet these playoffs. Look for the team to try and tighten up defensively and limit the high danger scoring chances as the series moves to Pittsburgh Saturday night.

Luca Perito

Born and raised in New York. I've lived in Arizona, Maryland, Delaware, and California. Love all sports. Twitter @elbigcalzonelp -- Instagram @thebigcalzone

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