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game recap

Second-period surge leads Rangers by Penguins

Miller assists Yandle, Brassard, Zuccarello goals 4:14 apart; New York wins Game 2, ties series

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The New York Rangers played precisely the way they wanted Saturday on their way to evening their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Four unanswered goals helped the Rangers defeat the Penguins 4-2 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Consol Energy Center.

J.T. Miller had the primary assists on second-period goals by Keith Yandle, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello 4:14 apart to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead.

"Finally, we were able to capitalize on a few of our looks," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We had some good looks. We've had some real good zone time both in Game 1 and Game 2 … We've had the puck quite a bit. We've had the puck quite a bit in their end and we've had some good looks."

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm2: Yandle buries loose puck, evens game

New York tied the best-of-7 series 1-1. Game 3 is at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; USA, ROOT, MSG, SN. TVA Sports).

Trailing 1-0 after Penguins forward Phil Kessel scored early in the second period, the Rangers shifted the momentum with two goals in 18 seconds.

The surge began when Miller passed through the crease to Yandle. Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff struggled to kick off to his right while Yandle took a wrist shot into an open side of the net at 7:22.

Miller converted another pass shortly after the faceoff, allowing Brassard to skate by Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta before shooting past Zatkoff's blocker and giving the Rangers their first lead of the series at 2-1.

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm2: Brassard buries go-ahead wrist shot

New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist preserved the lead almost three minutes later by denying Bryan Rust on a breakaway before Miller set up a third goal by passing to Zuccarello alone to Zatkoff's left. Zuccarello scored on a wrist shot to make it 3-1 with 3:08 left in the second.

Lundqvist, who made 29 saves, started despite missing the final two periods of a 5-2 Game 1 loss Wednesday after taking Marc Staal's stick to his eye.

The Rangers outhit the Penguins 57-25 Saturday.

"I think when you go into the playoffs, you're not going to play the team one time," Lundqvist said. "You have to earn it many times. It's so important that you play a physical game and make it hard, especially on their top guys. It should not be easy for them to create anything.

"I think part of that is being physical. We have a lot of guys who can do it, but we need everyone and I think everyone stepped up today and tried to play that physical game."

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm2: Kreider pads Rangers' lead early in 3rd

Chris Kreider scored 39 seconds into the third period to make it 4-1.

Kessel's first of two goals opened the scoring 3:21 into the second after a series of impressive plays that involved each of the five Penguins on the ice.

With Zuccarello in the penalty box for hooking, Patric Hornqvist dove and poked the puck off Eric Staal's stick in Pittsburgh's zone to Kris Letang, who shuffled it up the near wall to Nick Bonino. While battling with Rangers forward Jesper Fast, Bonino spun and passed to Trevor Daley to Lundqvist's right. Daley tipped a pass to Kessel back to the left, allowing Kessel to shoot past Lundqvist's blocker.

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm2: Kessel scores twice on the power-play

Kessel scored again on a 4-on-3 power play to make it 4-2 at 5:42 of the third period.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan decided to keep a line of Kessel, Bonino and left wing Carl Hagelin intact despite center Evgeni Malkin's return. Malkin previously centered Hagelin and Bonino.

"We like that line," Sullivan said. "It's played extremely well for the last six, seven, eight weeks. We think they've generated some chemistry … It gives us more options on how we want to use our guys."

Lundqvist shined in a scoreless first period that included two scoring chances for the Penguins set up by Malkin, who was playing his first game since March 11 after recovring from an upper-body injury.

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm2: Lundqvist gets a glove on Rust's shot

Letang carried the puck into the neutral zone before slipping a pass to Malkin along the far wall. Malkin returned a pass to Letang through Yandle, which Letang tipped on Lundqvist 3:34 into the first before being denied a second time on a wrist shot two seconds later.

Malkin, who had one assist, slid a similar pass to Hornqvist while on Pittsburgh's first power play later in the period, but Lundqvist made another stop.

After practicing the past two days, Malkin centered a line with left wing Conor Sheary and Rust, who returned from a lower-body injury.

"It's the playoffs. You have to play right all 60 minutes," Malkin said. "It's a tough situation for us, but it's still 1-1. It's a series and we go to New York."

Video: Lundqvist, offense shine as Rangers even series at 1

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