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

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

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

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

Game 3 is Saturday night in Pittsburgh.

With Rangers leading 3-2 after 40 minutes, the Penguins came out strong in the third period with the first nine shots on goal. Shesterkin stopped a tip from Bryan Rust, then made a diving save to block a slapshot from Evgeni Malkin in the first minute of the period. Shesterkin also stopped a Guentzel slapshot 3½ minutes later, then made a diving save on Crosby’s deflection nearly 30 seconds later.

Panarin then extended the lead to 4-2 when his cross pass from beyond the goal line deflected off Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson and passed Domingo at 8:02.

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

Shesterkin remained on the ice for several minutes following a collision with Pittsburgh’s Jeff Carter as the goaltender tried to get back into position behind the net with about two minutes remaining.

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

A few minutes later, the Penguins had an odd rush, but they just fired a wide shot off the end boards, and Crosby’s sharp angle attempt from the left side on the rebound was cleared away by Shesterkin. This caused the Madison Square Garden crowd, roaring from Strome’s decisive goal, to burst into chants of “I-gor!” I-gor!”

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

Crosby brought the Penguins within a run as he scored from center on the rebound of Bryan Rust’s backhand with 1:26 left in the middle of the period.

The Rangers outshot the Penguins 14-11 in a quick and physical first period.

Copp put Rangers on the scoreboard again as 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 goal of the series.

Guentzel tied the game with his third in the series after a Rangers turnover in the neutral zone. Guentzel got the rebound on a shot from Marcus Pettersson up front and fired a slap shot past Shesterkin at 8:52.

MILESTONES

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

SCHEDULE

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

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

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Follow Vin Cherwoo at http://www.twitter.com/VinCherwooAP

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