Igor Shesterkin turned back 30 shots for his first shutout of the season as the New York Rangers recorded a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday in a clash of teams sporting extended winning streaks.

Shesterkin out-dueled counterpart Jacob Markstrom to lead the Rangers to a fifth consecutive victory and halt Calgary's four-game winning streak. 

Markstrom was sharp in defeat, as he stopped 29 of 30 shots to keep the Flames in it until Jimmy Vesey sealed New York's win with an empty-net goal with 19 seconds remaining.

The Calgary goaltender came up with 11 saves during a scoreless first period, but his lone blemish came when Will Cuylle knocked in a rebound with 6:29 left in the second to give the Rangers a 1-0 advantage.

Shesterkin protected the lead with 13 second-period saves and 11 more in the third to finish off his 12th career shutout.

The win increased New York's lead over the second-place Carolina Hurricanes to six points in the Metropolitan Division standings. 

Flyers rally to top Coyotes, extend winning streak to four games

Travis Konecny had a goal and two assists and helped spark a third-period rally that lifted the surging Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

The Flyers trailed 3-2 after two periods before getting goals from Jamie Drysdale, Scott Laughton and Owen Tippett that kept them unbeaten since the All-Star break. Philadelphia is now 4-0-0 since the stoppage.

Laughton added an assist on Konecny's 25th goal of the season, while both of Konecny's assists came during Philadelphia's third-period comeback.

Drysdale began the rally when his shot deflected off Arizona defenseman Matt Dumba and trickled past goaltender Karel Vejmelka to tie the game at 3-3 with 6:12 elapsed in the third period.

Laughton put the Flyers ahead just over four minutes later by beating Vejmelka on a wraparound attempt, and Tippett's empty-net goal with 1:21 left put the game out of reach.

Dumba scored the lone goal of an otherwise quiet first period, but the action picked up in the second as both teams scored twice. 

Morgan Frost successfully converted a penalty shot 4:23 into the period to get the Flyers on the board, but Matias Maccelli sent the Coyotes back ahead by sneaking a shot past Philadelphia goaltender Samuel Ersson just 3:34 later.

Philadelphia answered on Konecny's goal midway through the second before Alex Kerfoot scored on a partial breakaway to give Arizona a 3-2 edge heading into the third. 

Vejmelka stopped 29 of 33 shots in the Coyotes' sixth consecutive loss (0-5-1), while Ersson finished with 20 saves. 

Eriksson Ek's two goals help Wild down Golden Knights

The Minnesota Wild lengthened a winning streak of their own with Monday's 5-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights that was sparked by a pair of goals from Joel Eriksson Ek.

Minnesota scored three times in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie and record its third consecutive win and sixth in eight games. Matt Boldy netted the eventual game-winner with 12:31 left to play and added two assists on the night.

The Wild's Marco Rossi broke the deadlock by knocking in a rebound 6:28 into the third period. Just 61 seconds later, Boldy fired a loose puck over the shoulder of Vegas goaltender Adin Hill to give Minnesota a 4-2 advantage.

Mark Stone's goal with 10:20 remaining got the Golden Knights within one, but the Wild held on before putting the game away on Eriksson Ek's empty-net tally with 22 seconds left.

Vegas started the game strong, taking a 1–0 lead just 22 seconds in when Jonathan Marchessault's chip attempt deflected off a Minnesota skater and trickled past goaltender Filip Gustavsson.

Mats Zuccarello and Eriksson Ek scored 81 seconds apart later in the first period to put the Wild on top before the Knights' Michael Amadio scored on a power play to forge a 2-2 tie. 

Gustavsson finished with 27 saves while Hill stopped 24 of 28 shots for Vegas, which was dealt just its second regulation loss in its last 10 games. The Knights entered the contest 7-1-1 over their last nine outings.

 

 

Sam Gagner snapped a tie early in the third period with a fluke goal and Stuart Skinner made 26 saves as the Edmonton Oilers extended their winning streak to 13 games on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over the rival Calgary Flames.

Ryan McLeod opened the scoring in the first period and Zach Hyman had an empty-net goal as Edmonton set the record for longest winning streak by a Canadian team, surpassing the 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens.

The Pittsburgh Penguins hold the NHL record with a 17-game winning streak in 1992-93.

From below the goal line near the corner, Gagner attempted to center to Dylan Holloway in the slot, but it deflected off Flames defenseman Rasmus Anderson’s skate, ended up on the top of goalie Dan Vladar’s trapper and fluttered into the net.

The Oilers improved to 23-6-0 since Kris Knoblauch took over as coach.

 

Red-hot Canucks beat Maple Leafs

Conor Garland and Nils Hoglander each scored twice and Quinn Hughes had three assists to lead the league-leading Vancouver Canucks to a 6-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

J.T. Miller and Tyler Myers also had goals for the Canucks, who are 7-0-1 in their last eight games and lead the NHL with 66 points.

William Nylander scored twice and Mitchell Marner had a goal and an assist as the Maple Leafs dropped to 1-4-1 in their past six games.

 

Lightning win 5th straight

Nicholas Paul and Tyler Motte scored 52 seconds apart in the first period and Jonas Johansson stopped 27 shots against his former team as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-1 for their fifth consecutive win.

Calvin de Haan had an empty-net goal and Brandon Hagel added a pair of assists for the Lightning, who won the opener of a three-game trip after the first four victories of their current streak came at home.

Dylan Cozens scored for the Sabres after missing the previous game with an upper-body injury. Buffalo failed to win a season-high third straight game after shutout wins over San Jose and Chicago.

 

Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Ross Colton all had goals within a span of just over four minutes in the third period to rally the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-5 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday.

Rantanen scored with 6:29 left to play to tie the game, then earned his second assist of the night when MacKinnon recorded the eventual winning goal on a breakaway with 4:30 remaining.

Colton started Colorado's comeback by knocking in a rebound with 8:40 left that cut the Flames' lead to 5-4.

Calgary had gone ahead on late second-period goals from Connor Zary and Yegor Sharangovich, with the latter prompting Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar to replace goaltender Alexandar Georgiev after the second intermission.

Ivan Prosvetov stopped all 11 shots he faced in relief of Georgiev, who allowed five goals on 22 shots.

Former Colorado center Nazem Kadri put Calgary ahead in the first period before the Avalanche's Tomas Tatar tied it later in the frame. Colorado then took a 2-1 lead when Cale Makar scored on a power play 1:43 into the second.

Goals by Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman sent the Flames back in front, but Ben Meyers scored off a feed from Andrew Cogliano with 5:03 left in the second to briefly draw the Avalanche even at 3-3.

Colorado snapped a two-game losing streak, while Calgary has now lost four of five. Dan Vladar finished with 31 saves for the Flames. 

Islanders blow late, recover to defeat Maple Leafs in overtime

Bo Horvat scored 46 seconds into overtime as the New York Islanders recovered from blowing a late lead to come through with a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto rallied from a two-goal deficit to force overtime when Morgan Rielly scored with seven seconds remaining in regulation. Horvat sent a feed from Mathew Barzal past Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov early in the extra session, however, to give New York its third consecutive win.

Rielly's goal did enable Toronto to extend its point streak to six games, a stretch in which it's gone 4-0-2. The Islanders are now 5-0-1 over their past six.

The Islanders took a 3-1 lead early in the second period on Kyle Palmieri's goal, but John Tavares scored on a redirection 7:43 into the frame to cut the Leafs' deficit to one.

Tavares, the former Islanders' captain, later recorded his 1,000th career point on Rielly's game-tying goal.

Auston Matthews' 19th goal of the season, a power-play score 5:50 into the contest, gave Toronto an early 1-0 edge before the Islanders forged ahead later in the period on goals from Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas. 

Noah Dobson finished with three assists for New York, while Ilya Sorokin made 14 of his 37 saves in the third period and had two more in overtime.

Samsonov stopped 25 shots for Toronto.

Benn hits assist milestone as Stars down short-handed Red Wings

Miro Heiskanen had two goals and an assist to lead the way as the Dallas Stars rolled to a 6-3 victory over the depleted Detroit Red Wings. 

The Stars scored twice in all three periods, including four straight goals between the first and second, to get back on track after losing three of their four previous games. Esa Lindell and Jason Robertson each delivered a goal and an assist to support a 27-save effort from Jake Oettinger.

Jamie Benn assisted on Heiskanen's first goal, the 500th of the Dallas captain's career.

Detroit was dealt a third consecutive loss while playing without both captain Dylan Larkin and forward David Perron. Larkin is out with an upper-body injury he sustained from a cross-check by Ottawa's Mathieu Joseph in Saturday's loss to the Senators, while Perron began serving a six-game suspension for cross-checking Ottawa's Artem Zub in retaliation.

The Red Wings did take a 1-0 lead when Daniel Sprong scored 5:20 in, but goals by Heiskanen and Lindell later in the first period put Dallas ahead. Robertson and Matt Duchene then scored 2:14 apart in the second to extend the Stars' advantage to 4-1.

Jonatan Berggren quickly answered Duchene's goal to trim Detroit's deficit, and the Red Wings cut the lead to 4-3 when Joe Veleno scored on a power play with 6:39 remaining.

Joe Pavelski countered with a power-play goal 30 seconds after Veleno's strike, however, before Heiskanen sealed the win with an empty-netter inside the final minute.

James Reimer stopped 29 of 34 shots for Detroit.

The high-scoring New Jersey Devils have added another piece to help light the lamp in 2023-24.

The Calgary Flames have traded winger Tyler Toffoli to the Devils for forward Yegor Sharangovich and a third-round pick in Wednesday’s draft.

The deal was announced about a week after media reports surfaced that Toffoli, who is entering the final year of his contract, would not re-sign with Calgary.

Toffoli just completed the best season of his career and was the Flames’ leading scorer with 73 points (34 goals, 39 assists).

At 31-years-old, Toffoli joins a young core of Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt that made New Jersey a top-five scoring offense last season.

Toffoli has 466 career points (227 goals, 239 assists) in 733 games with the Flames, Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings.

Earlier Tuesday, the Devils traded backup goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to the San Jose Sharks for a sixth-round pick.

The Flames add Sharangovich, a 25-year-old forward, and the No. 80 overall selection in this year’s draft.

A Belarus native, Sharangovich was drafted in the fifth round in 2018 and features a two-way game. After a 46-point season in 2021-22, his offensive production dipped to 30 points last season, but he contributed heavily on the Devils’ penalty kill units.

Matthew Tkachuk will be trading his winter coat and gloves for sunglasses and sandals after a blockbuster trade sent him from the Calgary Flames to the Florida Panthers on Friday.

In a deal with two of the league’s best players swapping teams, the Panthers acquired high-scoring forward Tkachuk from the Flames in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt and a conditional 2025 first-round draft pick. 

Tkachuk, coming off career bests of 42 goals, 62 assists and 104 points this past season, signed an eight-year extension with Florida, a deal that will keep him with the team through the 2029-30 season. He said earlier in the week that he would not sign a long-term contract to stay in Calgary and that led to trade talks, with no shortage of teams hoping to land the 24-year-old. 

''Matthew is a tenacious, physical competitor who possesses a tremendously unique skillset,'' Panthers general manager Bill Zito said. ''He is a consistent elite offensive contributor and has emerged as one of the most complete and dynamic young players in the National Hockey League. We are thrilled to be able to add a generational talent to our lineup.'' 

The Flames, who recently lost standout forward Johnny Gaudreau to free agency, get back a big-time playmaker in Huberdeau, who tied a career best with 30 goals last season, while setting personal bests with an NHL-high 85 assists and 115 points. Only Connor McDavid (123) had more points last season than Huberdeau, the Florida franchise leader in games, assists and points.  

''We would like to thank Jonathan and MacKenzie for their immense contributions to the Florida Panthers, both on and off the ice, during their tenures in South Florida,'' Zito said. ''They have both blossomed into exceptional athletes and people. Their contributions as players and people made an indelible mark on our franchise.'' 

Weegar tallied eight goals with 36 assists last season in 80 games for the Panthers, who had a league-best 122 points in 2021-22 and won a playoff round for the first time since 1996 before they were swept by Tampa Bay in the second round.  

Both Huberdeau and Weegar are set to be unrestricted free agents next summer.  

When prized free agent Johnny Gaudreau chose to sign a massive deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, the hockey world was stunned by the news.  

But Gaudreau himself did not give the decision a second thought, signing for seven years and $68million.  

"I wanted to come here. This was always a place circled on my list," Gaudreau said during his introductory news conference.  

The Blue Jackets have developed a reputation with some in NHL circles as struggling to retain talent after trading away young core players like Seth Jones and Cam Atkinson, and Gaudreau addressed those concerns head-on.  

"I'm not really sure about any other players. We're not talking about why people don't want to be at Columbus; it's not a topic in the locker room," he said.

"For me, I just heard so many great things from former players, and it made me feel really comfortable with my decision to come here." 

Since their inception in 2000, Columbus have never won a division crown and have yet to play in a Conference final series. The Blue Jackets missed the playoffs last season with a 37-38-7 record.  

"I think there's a lot of potential," the 28-year-old winger said. "I thought it was a good spot for me personally. We can have a lot of success here.

"They've got good players on this team. And I'm really looking forward to jumping in with this group. I've heard a lot of great things. 

"They're a close-knit group, and that's who you want to play with are guys who get along in the locker room and love coming to the rink and working together every single day, and it's just a healthy environment to be around, and that's exciting to me."

Gaudreau spent the beginning of his career with the Calgary Flames, tallying 609 points (210 goals, 399 assists) in 602 games. He set career highs with 40 goals and 75 assists last season.  

A New Jersey native, Gaudreau had been linked to teams in the U.S. Northeast, including the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers, before ultimately choosing Columbus.  

The biggest name in this year’s NHL free-agent market has found a new home, as high-scoring forward Johnny Gaudreau signed a seven-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

According to reports, the deal has an average annual value of $9.75 million. 

Gaudreau had the best season of his nine-year career in 2021-22, setting career-highs with 40 goals, 75 assists and 115 points in 82 games with the Calgary Flames. Only Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid (123) had more points last season than Gaudreau, who led the NHL with a plus-64 rating.  

A native of Salem, New Jersey, Gaudreau had been speculated to be eyeing a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers or New Jersey Devils, but the Blue Jackets, by all accounts, entered the mix later in the day and landed the six-time All-Star.  

Columbus finished sixth in the Metropolitan Division last season and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.  

Gaudreau has 210 goals and 609 points in 602 career games, all with the Flames. 

Blake Coleman was left questioning his own understanding of the rules after his go-ahead goal against the Edmonton Oilers was controversially disallowed as the Calgary Flames' season came to an end.

Coleman looked to have given the Flames a 5-4 lead in Game 5 of the second-round series when he followed in after Mikael Backlund's effort was initially repelled by Mike Smith.

However, a video review ruled Coleman had deliberately kicked the puck into the net.

The game was subsequently sent to overtime, with Connor McDavid scoring the winning goal for the Oilers as they clinched a 4-1 series victory to progress to the Western Conference Finals.

NHL rule 49.2 says a player cannot use "a deliberate kicking motion" to divert the puck into the net, however, Coleman appeared to turn his skate to help himself stop before making contact with the puck. Additionally, Backlund's effort looked set to cross the line despite Smith's block.

Yet the officials still ruled against Coleman, who could only express his bemusement after the game.

"I don't think I understand the rule," he said. "Getting pushed, just trying to keep my foot on the ice, I haven't watched it enough but in live speed, felt like I was in a battle.

"My understanding is you can direct the puck, you just can't kick it. I didn't feel like I kicked it but can't go back and change it now. It is what it is.

"It's unfortunate that was such a big part of the game and happened the way to influence the way it all went down. Aside from that, proud of our team, we fought hard, I wish that would've helped put us over to another game.

"There's no intent, just trying to get there, my understanding is you can redirect the puck off your foot as long as you're not lifting it and kicking it into the net.

"I'll go watch it again, maybe it's glaringly obvious and I just didn't feel like I did what it looks like."

Interim Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft praised his team's resilience in difficult circumstances after defeating the Calgary Flames 5-4 in overtime to reach the NHL's Western Conference final.

In a Battle of Alberta that saw an extraordinary 46 goals in five games, Connor McDavid scored at 5:03 in the extra period as the Oilers won their series 4-1.

The Edmonton captain scored his seventh goal of the playoffs, beating Jacob Markstrom off a pass from Leon Draisaitl to score the winner, while Zach Hyman contributed a goal and two assists.

Taking over from Dave Tippett in February, Woodcroft asserted his belief in the Oilers locker room post-game.

"There were some things that we could clean up heading into overtime," he said.

"We talked about that, but I think with our group there is a measure of calm and composure, and a strong belief that we have the people in the room that can get us through any type or circumstance, so we felt good about our chances.

"When I walked into that room at the beginning of February, I was bullish on our players because I saw a sincere desire to win and not just the desire to win, but I saw people willing to pay the price to win.

"We always felt that we had the ability to score. For us it's sometimes not just about what we're getting but also what we're giving up and as the series went on we got better at that."

McDavid now sits fifth in NHL history for playoff points per game at 1.45, while Draisaitl's 17 goals over the five games beat Wayne Gretzky's 1983 record for most points in a playoff series between the two teams.

 

The New York Rangers are feeling confident about their prospects of reaching the NHL Stanley Cup Finals after fighting back from 2-0 to square their series with the Carolina Hurricanes, earning a 4-1 win on Tuesday.

The Hurricanes have had the wood over the Rangers in recent times, winning eight out of their previous nine encounters prior to the past two meetings in this heated series.

Rangers center Andrew Copp, who scored a goal with two assists in the Game 4 win, said the momentum was with his side after winning 3-1 in Game 3.

"We're confident," Copp told reporters. "We get two games where we win, we play well, we give up two goals total.

"Now the reverse of the talk of you guys is on them now. We just got to kind of block all that out and stay with our game.

"Guys are feeling better about themselves and we got to ride this momentum into Carolina."

Rangers goal tender Igor Shesterkin stopped 30 shots but had his shutout bid spoiled by Teuvo Teravainen's third-period goal.

Earlier, goals to Frank Vatrano and Adam Fox earned the Rangers a 2-0 first-period lead, with Mika Zibanejad extending that advantage 16:48 into the second. Teravainen made it 3-1 before Copp rounded it out from Ryan Strome's assist 11:10 in the third period.

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant was delighted with his team's display after a tight series, where the Hurricanes won Game 1 in over-time 2-1, before triumphing 2-0 in Game 2.

"Really, you look at the four games," Gallant said. "It's not just the two at home, but the four games have been pretty much one-goal games most of the way through.

"We are two teams that are close and battling. I just think it's been outstanding hockey by both teams."

The result means the Hurricanes are 0-5 on the road in the playoffs, while they are 6-0 at home ahead of Game 5 in Carolina.

Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said: "You've got to keep getting the chances. I'm happy that we're at least creating some offense.

"[Shesterkin] played well, you've got to give him tons of credit. But to me, the start is what did it to us."

Elsewhere, the Edmonton Oilers took a 3-1 lead in their second round series against the Calgary Flames, winning 5-3 in Game 4 after blowing a 3-0 first-period lead.

Star winger Artemi Panarin proved the difference in Game 7 for the New York Rangers, with his goal in overtime clinching a 4-3 win and the series on Sunday.

Overtime seemed fitting for what has been such a tight series, and the 30-year-old Russian put the Rangers up in rare circumstances, shooting through a wall of Penguins players in a power-play to score.

It was the third-straight come-from-behind victory in the series for New York, who tied the game with 5:45 left in regulation via Mika Zibanejad.

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant felt the conditions did not suit Panarin but he had the requisite skill to save his side when it mattered most.

"He's the guy, when it gets to overtime, I said to myself that he was going to score," Gallant said after the win. "If we get the winning goal, it's going to be him. Sure enough, he makes a great play.

"You know what? Honestly, the ice wasn't great tonight. The puck was bouncing and it affects his game more than the other guys. People get frustrated at times. I think we saw a little of that.

"I just thought he wasn't having his best night. He tried hard, he competed and got some pucks out. He usually makes a lot of plays and tonight it just wasn't there, but you just get a feeling with a guy like him that he can do that for you. And that's what he does."

The Penguins were bolstered by the return of Sidney Crosby after he missed Game 6 with an upper-body injury, caused by a hit from Jacob Trouba. The visitors equalised on a power-play following a penalty for high-sticking from Trouba and though they hit the lead, could not manage to see the series out.

In Sunday's other result, Johnny Gaudreau's goal in overtime secured the series for the Calgary Flames against the Dallas Stars, moving to the second round with a 3-2 win.

The Florida Panthers twice came back from a one-goal deficit to defeat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in overtime, tying the series at 2-2.

Heading into the contest trailing 2-1, and playing on Washington's home ice, the Panthers were put on the back foot early after T.J. Oshie opened the scoring in the first period.

Carter Verhaeghe tied things up less than 10 minutes later, before Evgeny Kuznetsov put the Capitals back in front in the third period off an assist from legendary teammate Alex Ovechkin.

With just over two minutes to play, Sam Reinhart tied it at 2-2 to force an extra period, where Verhaeghe would slot the winner five minutes in to steal the game on the road.

Speaking to post-game media, two-goal hero Verhaeghe said the result adds to the belief of what this team – dubbed the 'Comeback Cats' – can accomplish.

"We wanted to come in and have our best game of the series, and I think we did a pretty good job," he said.

"It’s just kind of a building block. We know we have another level to get to, and we’re a great team, so I think it’s just building some confidence."

Fellow goal-scorer Reinhart added that the backs-to-the-wall nature of the battle was everything he enjoyed as a competitor.

"Those are the kind of situations you want to be in as a hockey player," he said. "It’s a game that can really go either way at the end of it – we stuck with it, and we’re happy with the result."

Washington's Ovechkin – a three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner for league MVP – was clear about the next course of action, and not overreacting to a painful loss.

"At the end, it was bad bounces and it goes in," he said. "It is going to be a tough, long series, so move on. Forget about it, move on."

It was much smoother sailing for the Colorado Avalanche, beating the Nashville Predators 5-3 to sweep their series 4-0. J.T Compher and Cale Makar both collected a pair of assists each for the Avalanche.

The Pittsburgh Penguins received a vintage performance from future Hall-of-Famer Sydney Crosby as he slotted one goal and dished two assists in his side's 7-2 win against the New York Rangers, taking a 3-1 series lead in the process.

Lastly, the Calgary Flames won a crucial Game 4 on the road against the Dallas Stars 4-1 to tie their series at 2-2, despite Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger making 50 saves.

New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant has defended his call to pull goaltender Igor Shesterkin after the first period as Pittsburgh Penguins ran out to a 7-4 victory in Game 3.

The visitors suffered a playoffs setback at PPG Paints Arena, as their Pennsylvanian hosts moved into a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series.

Shesterkin was hooked after the first period after Pittsburgh raced into a 4-1 lead and was replaced by Alexandar Georgiev.

That helped spark a turnaround for the Rangers, who clawed back three goals in the second period to move back on level terms.

But after Danton Heinen put the Penguins back in front halfway through the third period, Pittsburgh did not relinquish their lead again, with Jake Guentzel and Jeff Carter extending their advantage.

Gallant backed his decision to withdraw Shesterkin, a 2018 Olympic gold medallist, saying that it was to offer the goaltender much-needed rest after a busy schedule and thought it might provide a spark.

"It's 4-1 and you want to change momentum," he stated. "Igor has been outstanding.

"If you look at it right now, he's played 10 periods, more or less, in basically 4 and half, five days. I thought it was a good time to jump-start it.

"It was 4-1. It was totally tilted. Sometimes you spark your team with a goalie change. Igor was our MVP all season.

"I thought we'd give him a little rest tonight and hopefully spark our team. And it worked."

The Rangers will attempt to hit back in Game 4 on Monday.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was quick to back goaltender Louis Domingue, following their 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday.

The Rangers tied their playoff series up at 1-1 after Pittsburgh's 4-3 win in triple-overtime at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

One of the key figures in that overtime win, Domingue was given a start by Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, but gave up key goals to Ryan Strome and Chris Keider via deflections.

Crosby backed his teammate following the loss, bringing saves he did make with Game 2 in the balance in perspective.

"The fourth was a bad bounce, a couple of tips there," Crosby said. "I thought he [Domingue] was solid. I thought he made some big saves, especially when there was a one or two-goal difference, that kept us in it."

The two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner believes the Penguins simply need to start better and put three periods of hockey together to progress past the Rangers.

"It's the playoffs," Crosby said. "There are going to be swings of momentum but I thought that in both games, as they've gone on, we've probably gotten better. We just have to find a way to come out of the gates a bit better.

"You don't want to get down two, we've done that a couple of times now. It's not something we want to make a habit of.

"We get that late one and we had some really good chances early in the third and didn't convert, and they got a bounce. That's what it came down to."

In other NHL playoff results on Thursday, a Cale Makar goal gave the Colorado Avalanche a 2-1 overtime win over the Nashville Predators, moving to 2-0 in their series.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers tied up respective series with the Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals.

Evgeni Malkin says the Pittsburgh Penguins "deserved to win" after he scored the decisive goal 5:58 into the third overtime of their 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers in the NHL playoffs on Tuesday.

The Penguins take a 1-0 lead in their Stanley Cup playoff opening-round series, where goalies Igor Shesterkin and Louis Domingue were outstanding for both sides.

Penguins back-up goalie Domingue came in for Casey DeSmith who exited due to cramping. Domingue starred with 14 saves in the second overtime and three more in the third.

"We know we can win every game if we play right," Malkin told reporters. "We play smart. We play hard. I think we deserved to win tonight."

The Rangers had led 2-0 after Andrew Copp doubled their lead in the second lead after Adam Fox's power-play goal in the first period.

The Penguins leveled it up after goals from Jake Guentzel in the second period, before Chris Kreider restored the Rangers' lead. Malkin found Bryan Rust to square the game up again, before it headed for overtime. Malkin came up with the decisive deflection.

The epic was the longest-ever NHL game played at Madison Square Garden.

On Domingue, Malkin added: "For me, I know Louis is unbelievable. He is big and he is fast. I wasn’t worried. It is hard to score on him in practice."

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was injured as his side won 4-2 over the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of their series. Wilson had scored before going off with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche piled on five first-period goals as they routed the Nashville Predators 7-2 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Elias Lindholm's first-period goal proved the difference as the Calgary Flames got past the Dallas Stars 1-0.

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