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Magnus Hellberg of Rangers gets first NHL win

New York goalie makes 22 saves for victory against Penguins

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Magnus Hellberg made 22 saves in his first career NHL start to help the New York Rangers close out their regular-season schedule with a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

The Rangers (48-28-6), who ended a two-game losing streak, open the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference First Round. Games 1 and 2 will be at Bell Centre.

It was Hellberg's fifth career game and second this season; he made four saves in relief of Henrik Lundqvist in a 7-6 loss against the Dallas Stars on Jan 17.

 

WATCH: All Penguins vs. Rangers highlights

 

"I am a little overwhelmed right now," Hellberg said. "This is something I've been fighting for for five years, so to be able to get this opportunity in the last game of the season is very big for me."

Jimmy Vesey scored the winning goal at 7:23 of the third period. It was Vesey's 16th goal of the season and second since Feb. 19.

New York also got goals from Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh, who missed the previous four games because of an undisclosed injury.

In addition, the Rangers had Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Nick Holden in the lineup. They each missed the previous two games. Jesper Fast missed his third straight game.

Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider and Brendan Smith were healthy scratches. Lundqvist was the backup to Hellberg, who was recalled Sunday and started because Antti Raanta was held out with a knee injury after getting hit by a shot in practice Friday.

Rangers coach Alagn Vigneault said Raanta is day to day but should be available to backup Lundqvist in Game 1.

"We're going into the playoffs as healthy as a team can be at this time of the year," Vigneault said.

The Penguins (50-21-11), who open the playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets at PPG Paints Arena, lost their second straight game, but rested nine healthy regulars, including captain Sidney Crosby.

Video: PIT@NYR: Stepan cranks slapper past Jarry for PPG

Conor Sheary, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Matt Cullen, Ian Cole, Trevor Daley, Justin Schultz and Matt Murray were also healthy scratches. All are expected to play in Game 1.

Evgeni Malkin missed his 13th straight game with an upper-body injury, but coach Mike Sullivan said prior to the game that the Penguins have been encouraged by his progress and he's on track to play when the playoffs begin.

Nick Bonino and Carter Rowney scored. Tristan Jarry made 22 saves in his NHL debut.

"I thought [Jarry] looked really good in there," Sullivan said. "He's got a calm demeanor about him. He looked very composed. He made some big saves for us."

Rowney scored at 13:38 of the second period to tie the game at 2-2.

The Rangers had a 2-1 lead after the first period on goals by McDonagh and Stepan separated by 4:37.

Bonino opened the scoring at 9:16 of the first period.

Video: PIT@NYR: Vesey lifts backhand for go-ahead goal

 

Goal of the game

McDonagh got the puck inside the Rangers' zone and carried it up the ice, past all five Penguins players, before beating Jarry with a blocker-side wrist shot from the left circle.

Video: PIT@NYR: McDonagh dances through the defense, scores

 

Save of the game

Hellberg stopped Phil Kessel on a breakaway at 5:34 of the first period to keep the score tied at 0-0.

Video: PIT@NYR: Hellburg denies Kessel's break with pad save

 
Highlight of the game

Tanner Glass had an open net but couldn't score at 10:07 of the first period because Jarry reached back and stopped his shot off the rebound with the blade of his stick. The puck popped up and Jarry whipped his glove up to snatch it out of the air when he was laying on his side.

Video: PIT@NYR: Jarry sprawls out for incredible stick save

 

Unsung performance of the game

Defenseman Olli Maatta was second on the Penguins in ice time at 20:15 in his first game since Feb. 17. He missed the previous 25 games following hand surgery.

 

They said it

"I think definitely the last few weeks we've found another level as far as our desperation and the details. You're always looking to find that as you get closer. I think we feel confident and comfortable with that. I still think even with that there's a point in the playoffs where you have to raise your game and elevate it, get better with each game, and we'll have to do that here right off the start. But with all the injuries we've had and finding ways to get through that I think we've done a pretty good job and put ourselves in the right frame of mind and the right spot going into the playoffs." -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby

 

"Come [Monday] morning, what happened so far for each and every player, the page is turned. Everybody has a clean slate and a great opportunity in front of them to make a difference and an impact in the playoffs. This is what we worked for the whole season." -- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault

 

Need to know

Pittsburgh forward Jean-Sebastien Dea made his NHL debut.

 

What's next

Penguins: Game 1 of Eastern Conference First Round against Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., ET; USA, SN 360, TVA Sports)

Rangers: Game 1 of Eastern Conference First Round against Montreal Canadiens, on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports)

 

Video: Hellberg's strong play leads Rangers to 3-2 win

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