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Instant analysis: Rangers vs. Penguins, Game 3

Penguins goalie Murray, power play step up to give Pittsburgh 2-1 lead over New York

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The Pittsburgh Penguins defe atedthe New York Rangers 3-1 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Rookie goalie Matt Murray made 16 saves in his first career start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Veteran center Matt Cullen scored the game-winning goal off of a Rangers' defensive zone turnover at 4:16 of the third period.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored his second goal in the series and first on the power play to tie the game at 19:18 of the second period. The Rangers only offense came from Rick Nash, who scored his first of the series on a shorthanded breakaway 39 seconds into the second.

Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang added an empty-net goal.

What we learned: Murray proved to be the calm, composed goalie in the playoffs that he was in 13 regular-season appearances. Pittsburgh's power play was again a factor and is 4-for-13 in the series.

The Rangers can't keep giving the Penguins power-play opportunities. Yes, Nash scored a shorthanded goal 39 seconds into the second period, but Crosby answered with a power-play goal with 42 seconds remaining in the second intermission.

The Penguins lead in the series despite scoring only three 5-on-5 goals in the three games.

In addition, the Rangers have to make some adjustments to their power play. They struggled with zone entries. It was slow. The passes weren't crisp. They didn't get a lot of sustained possession time. It led to going 0-for-4 with only three shots on goal. They are 1-for-12 in the series.

Video: PIT@NYR, Gm3: Murray stops Stepan's stuff-in attempts

What this means for the Penguins: They have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series and with a win in Game 4 on Thursday will give themselves a chance to close out the Rangers at home in Game 5 on Saturday.

What this means for the Rangers: They trail in the series again and fell to 10-20 in games following a playoff victory since 2012.

Key moment: The Rangers thought they had a 1-0 lead on what would have been Chris Kreider's second goal in as many games at 12:43 of the first period, but it was wiped away by a successful coach's challenge for offside. The review proved that Rangers forward J.T. Miller went into the zone illegally as he received a pass from defenseman Brady Skjei.

Video: PIT@NYR, Gm3: Cullen gives Penguins their first lead

Unsung player of the game: After a tough outing in Game 2, Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta answered his critics with a strong performance. The Rangers attempted to attack Maatta early in the game by dumping the puck into the corner on his side of the ice, but he handled the pressure well and wound up playing a quietly strong game in his 21:21 of ice time. Telling of his game is the fact that he was on the ice in the final minute, when the Rangers had an extra skater on for a 6-on-5 advantage.

What's next: Game 4 is at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports, MSG, ROOT).

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