Hockey / Sports

Penguins defeat Rangers, can clinch series Friday at home

NEW YORK -- The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Rangers, 4-2, on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the teams' second-round playoff series.

The Penguins will have a chance to clinch the series in Game 5 on Friday night at Consol Energy Center.

The Penguins took a quick 1-0 lead, with Evgeni Malkin doing the bulk of the work.

In the neutral zone, Malkin picked off a breakout pass by New York's Anton Stralman. He carried the puck into the Rangers zone and set up Sidney Crosby for a shot. The puck went off the stick of New York's Marc Staal and back to Malkin, who scored on a spinning backhand at 2:31 of the first period.

By the end of the first period, Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had reached 140:00 without allowing a goal, breaking his personal streak in the postseason. It had been 123:16, set in 2008.

Fleury didn't make it to his overall career record of 150:14, set in March 2011, because the Rangers tied the score, 1-1, at 5:30 of the second period.

Carl Hagelin took a stretch pass from Ryan McDonagh, got around Rob Scuderi and beat Fleury on the blocker side. The assist was McDonagh's first playoff point.

The Penguins regained the lead, 2-1, on Brandon Sutter's shorthanded goal at 18:27 of the second period. Kris Letang set up Brian Gibbons for a breakaway. He lost control of the puck just in front of the crease, and Sutter swooped in to lift the puck past New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Jussi Jokinen pushed the Penguins' lead to 3-1 at 7:02 of the third period when his shot went in off of Staal.

New York closed to within 3-2 at 13:07 of the third period when Mats Zuccarello carried the puck down the Penguins zone and, on a backhanded shot, found a sliver of space between Fleury and the near post.

Chris Kunitz restored the two-goal cushion for the Penguins, 4-2, at 14:04 of the third period when he one-timed a feed from Malkin, who carried the puck behind the Rangers net.

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