Rangers, Blackhawks into final 4 of NHL playoffs
AP Thursday, May 15, 2014, 12:06 am TWN
PITTSBURGH -- The New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks both advanced to the final four of the NHL playoffs with dramatic road victories on Tuesday
New York completed a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit by beating Pittsburgh 2-1 in Game 7 of their series, booking a place in the NHL Eastern Conference finals.
Defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago won 2-1 in overtime at Minnesota to win that series 4-2.
The Rangers will play the winner of Wednesday's Game 7 at Boston between the Bruins and Montreal, while Chicago will meet either Anaheim or Los Angeles, with the Ducks leading that series 3-2.
New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist set an NHL record with his fifth-straight Game 7 victory, making 35 saves.
Lundqvist stopped 102 of the final 105 shots he faced over the final three games as New York advanced to the conference finals for the second time in three years.
Brian Boyle and Brad Richards scored for New York, who rallied from a 3-1 series deficit for the first time in the franchise's 88-year history.
Jussi Jokinen scored his team-high seventh goal of the postseason for the Penguins, who were outscored 10-3 over the final three games.
This defeat was painful for the core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and coach Dan Bylsma that seemed pointed toward a dynasty after winning the 2009 Stanley Cup.
Crosby, who led the league in scoring and is an MVP finalist, managed just one goal in 13 playoffs games.
Chicago's Patrick Kane scored on a backhand at 9:40 of overtime to secure victory over Minnesota.
Kris Versteeg — on his birthday — scored the opening goal early and Corey Crawford came up with tough save after tough save among his 34 stops for the Blackhawks.
Erik Haula scored and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 25 shots for the Wild, who pushed a frenetic pace for much of the night but missed prime chances to score.
They paid for it in the extra period, when a simple dump-in by Brent Seabrook took an unusual bounce back toward the slot. The puck slid past Peter Regin but not Kane, who deked once and flipped it into the net.
Since 2009, the Blackhawks are 14-0 in Games 5 and 6 of playoff series that were tied after Game 4. They're also 12-2 in games with a chance to win a series, including 6-1 on the road.
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