Henrik Lundqvist turned away 35 shots and Brad Richards scored the game-winning on a power play as the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Tuesday night in the decisive Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Rangers rallied from 3-1 deficit to win the series and advance to the Eastern Conference final to meet either the Boston Bruins or Montreal Canadiens. It was first time in 17 tries that New York came back in a series after trailing 3-1.
The Rangers will be making their second appearance in the conference finals in three years. They lost to the New Jersey Devils in 2011-12 in six games.
Lundqvist, the Rangers' goaltender, showed his Game 7 magic again, raising his career record to 5-1 in those situations. He stopped a combined 100 of 103 shots in winning the final three games of the series.
The Penguins, meanwhile, fell to 2-7 in their last nine Games 7s at home, and the loss figures to only fuel speculation that coach Dan Bylsma will be fired. After getting knocked out in the Eastern Conference finals by the Bruins last season, owner Mario Lemieux expected Pittsburgh to get at least get that far again this season.
The Penguins have gone 1-8 at home under Bylsma when they have had a chance to win the series.
After leading the NHL in scoring during the regular season, Penguins center Sidney Crosby had a miserable playoff run. He scored only one goal in 13 games, that coming in Game 3 against the Rangers.
Richards put the Rangers ahead for good, 2-1, when he scored a power-play goal on a wrist shot at 7:56 on the second period after taking a pass from the right side of the from right winger Martin St. Louis. It was the fourth goal of the playoffs for Richards, who was teammates with St. Louis in 2003-04 when they helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win their lone Stanley Cup.
Left winger Jussi Jokinen evened the score at 1 for the Penguins at 4:15 of the second period with his seventh goal, knocking in a rebound of a slap shot by defenseman Olli Maatta.
The Rangers opened the scoring at 5:25 of the first period on fourth-line left winger Dan Boyle's second goal. Boyle scored on an odd-man rush as he converted a pass from center Dominic Moore, putting the puck between Fleury's pads.
NOTES: Penguins RW Tanner Glass was in the lineup for the first time since Game 1 of the series, replacing RW Beau Bennett. ... Pittsburgh D Brooks Orpik missed his third consecutive game with what the team said was an undisclosed injury, though he was seen at the morning skate wearing a bulky brace on his right knee. ... Also scratched for Pittsburgh were D Deryk Engelland, LW Taylor Pyatt and RW Chris Conner. ... The Rangers scratched D Raphael Diaz, C J.T. Miller, RW Jesper Fast, LW Daniel Carcillo and D Justin Falk ... New York did not hold a game-day skate, opting to extra rest before the series' decisive game.