Panarin and Vatrano help the Rangers beat the Penguins 5-2 in Game 2

NEW YORK — Artemi Panarin and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and two assists and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 in Game 2 on Thursday night to even reach the best-of-seven first-round series.

Chris Kreider, Andrew Copp and Ryan Strome also scored for Rangers. Igor Shesterkin made 39 saves over two nights after stopping 79 shots in Game 1 in a triple overtime loss.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, and Jake Guentzel also scored for the Penguins. Louis Domingue, who replaced the injured Casey DeSmith in the second overtime of Game 1, started and finished the game with 34 saves.

Game 3 takes place in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

After Rangers led 3-2 after 40 minutes, the Penguins showed their strength in the third period with the first nine shots on goal. Shesterkin stopped a tip from Bryan Rust and then made a diving save to parry a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin in the first minute of the period. Shesterkin also stopped a slap shot from Guentzel at 3 1/2 minutes and then had a dive save against Crosby’s distraction nearly 30 seconds later.


Panarin then extended the lead to 4-2 when his centering pass from beyond the goal line was deflected by Penguins defender Mike Matheson and went past Domingue at 8:02.

Vatrano gave Rangers a three-goal lead when he rounded Matheson in the right circle, slid in and beat Domingue at 9:49 at the right post.

Shesterkin was off the ice for several minutes after colliding with Pittsburgh’s Jeff Carter when the goaltender tried to get back into position behind the net with about two minutes left.

Rangers took a 2-1 lead early in the second half on a power play when Adam Fox’s slap shot was deflected through traffic at 2:59 by Strome in front and Domingue’s skates.

Minutes later, the Penguins had an odd rush but fired just a shot wide of the end boards and Crosby’s sharp angle attempt from the left for the rebound was kicked aside by Shesterkin. That got the crowd at Madison Square Garden, who had been roaring since Strome’s opening goal, into chants of “I-gor! I-gor!”


Kreider extended the Rangers’ lead to 3:1. He deflected Frank Vatrano’s point shot past Domingue and scored his second goal of the series at 7:54.

Crosby drew the Penguins in a rush for one when he hit from the middle on the rebound from Bryan Rust’s backhand at 1:26 in the midsection.

The Rangers knocked out the Penguins 14-11 in a fast-paced and physical first period.

Copp put Rangers back on the scoreboard first when he got a pass from Panarin and quickly fired a shot past Domingue from the inside edge of the right circle at 6:50. It was his second series goal.

Guentzel tied it with his third of the series after a Rangers turnover in the neutral zone. Guentzel rebounded from a shot from Marcus Pettersson in front and fired a slapshot past Shesterkin at 8:52.


Guentzel scored his 29th postseason goal of his career, tying Boston’s Brad Marchand for the third most since 2017. Only Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point (37) and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (30) have scored more during that streak. … Crosby’s assist on Guentzel’s first-half goal earned him 125 points to move past Sergei Fedorov (124) to eighth on the NHL list. Crosby is seventh behind Jarri Kurri (127). … Kreider played in his 82nd postseason game, tying Brian Leetch for the eighth-most in franchise history. … Kreider’s goal earned him 42 career playoff points and tied Jean Ratelle for 14th place in franchise history.



Rangers D. Ryan Lindgren (lower body injury) and F. Barclay Goodrow (unknown injury) were out. Lindgren was a season decision but did not play. They were replaced by D Justin Braun and LW Dryden Hunt.

The Penguins were without RW Rickard Rakell, who departed in the first period of Game 1, and D Brian Dumoulin. LW Drew O’Connor and D Mark Friedman returned to the lineup. LW Jason Zucker (lower body injury) participated in pregame warm-ups but did not play.


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