Skip to Main Content
game recap

Zatkoff pushes Penguins past Rangers in Game 1

New York goalie Lundqvist injured; Hornqvist has hat trick for Pittsburgh

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff received a text message from Marc-Andre Fleury on Tuesday informing him of his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut the following night.

Zatkoff made the most of the opportunity with 35 saves Wednesday in a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round Series at Consol Energy Center.

Patric Hornqvist had a hat trick and an assist for the Penguins, who took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 2 is here Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Zatkoff started in place of Fleury, who was said to be a game-time decision with a concussion that caused him to miss his sixth straight game. The text from Fleury and a phone call from goaltending coach Mike Bales gave Zatkoff time to digest the news.

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm1: Hornqvist lights the lamp three times

"I slept last night, not so much for pregame nap," Zatkoff said. "It's the playoffs, right? I think it was still up until the end, we weren't really sure. It's the playoffs. Everything's day to day and we take it one day at a time. We're happy to get this one tonight."

Zatkoff became the first Penguins goalie to win his playoff debut since Frank Pietrangelo exactly 25 years ago against the New Jersey Devils, 4-3 on April 13, 1991.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist did not play the last two periods after he sustained an eye injury late in the first. He will be re-evaluated Thursday.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan admitted he concealed Pittsburgh's starting goalie to avoid giving New York an advantage.

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm1: Crosby goes top-shelf to beat Raanta

"Obviously, we didn't want to reveal who we were going to play and give our opponents an opportunity to prepare for them," Sullivan said. "So, maybe that had a little something to do with it."

Zatkoff carried a shutout into the third period with Pittsburgh leading 2-0 before Penguins forward Carl Hagelin was called for a double minor for high sticking and defenseman Ian Cole went to the penalty box for interference. The lengthy 5-on-3 resulted in a goal by Derek Stepan when he shot into an open left side of the net at 3:10 to make it 2-1.

Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackl scored a shorthanded goal off a 2-on-1 with Nick Bonino 1:21 later to push the lead to 3-1. Kuhnhackl became the first Penguins player to score a shorthanded goal in his playoff debut since Brad Werenka on April 23, 1998 against the Montreal Canadiens, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Hornqvist scored two of his three goals in the third period for his first NHL playoff hat trick. He had his first regular-season hat trick on Feb. 29 against the Arizona Coyotes.

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm1: Lundqvist shaken up in 1st, later exits

Hornqvist made it 4-1 with his second goal and third point, on a power play with 11:58 remaining. New York challenged the goal for goaltender interference but it was upheld.

Stepan scored with 9:49 remaining to make it 4-2, but Hornqvist scored into an empty net to give the Penguins a 5-2 lead with 2:50 remaining. It was the 17th hat trick in the first round since the playoffs expanded to four rounds in 1975.

Lundqvist was injured with 48.2 seconds remaining in the first period. Cole took a slap shot with Rangers defenseman Marc Staal battling in front. Lundqvist made the save, but was hit by Staal's stick blade under his facemask. Lundqvist stayed in the game and surrendered a goal 31 seconds later.

After Hornqvist lobbed the puck from the neutral zone off the end boards behind Lundqvist, forward Conor Sheary beat everyone to it and shot through Staal's legs. A charging Hornqvist got to the rebound and slid a shot through Lundqvist's five-hole for a 1-0 lead with 17.6 seconds remaining.

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm1: Zatkoff denies Stalberg on the rush

Goalie Antti Raanta replaced Lundqvist to start the second period and made 16 saves.

"I didn't know where I got [Henrik]. Anytime he goes out like that, it's not a good sign," Staal said. "I don't think it changes the way we play at all. [Raanta] has won a lot of games for us this year and played really well."

Zatkoff made several big saves, including robbing Viktor Stalberg with 3:54 remaining in the second period to maintain Pittsburgh's 1-0 lead before Sidney Crosby scored on a breakaway.

Crosby got behind Dan Girardi and Staal, who each dove in an attempt to break up a pass from Hornqvist. Crosby pulled in the pass and shot over Raanta's glove to extend the lead to 2-0 with 1:04 remaining.

"I think the Crosby goal late in the second period was a little bit that kind of goal where you should make the save so we could get to the break 1-0," Raanta said. "It's hockey and sometimes that happens."

Video: Hornqvist nets hat trick as Penguins take Game 1

View More