Penguins blast Rangers with first-period flurry
March 08 2021 10:09 PM
Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Kasperi Kapanen scores a goal against New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev during the first period at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. (USA TODAY Sports)


Kasperi Kapanen had a goal and two assists Sunday and the Pittsburgh Penguins scored three times in a 61-second span of the first period en route to a 5-1 win over the visiting New York Rangers.
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, and John Marino, Sidney Crosby and Zach Aston-Reese also scored for Pittsburgh, which improved to 10-2-0 at home. Goaltender Casey DeSmith, playing for the second time since February 11, stopped 23 of 24 New York shots.
Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers, who had scored 12 goals over their previous two games and 15 over a three-game winning streak entering Sunday. Alexandar Georgiev gave up three goals on six shots before he was relieved by Keith Kinkaid, who in his first appearance of the season made 16 saves.
Pittsburgh forward Jared McCann, who had an assist, left late in the second period for an unspecified reason.
New York started strong, ringing up a 9-1 lead in shots and taking a 1-0 lead on Zibanejad’s goal at 1:18 of the first. Off a 2-on-1, he put a shot past DeSmith’s glove.
Pittsburgh went into quick-strike mode later in the first.
Two seconds after a power play expired, Marino used a screen by Evan Rodrigues and whipped a shot far side from just beyond the right dot at 16:13 of the first to tie it.
Kapanen made it 2-1 at 16:52. New York defenseman K’Andre Miller couldn’t corral a bouncing puck in the neutral zone. Kapanen caught up with it for a breakaway from just inside the blue line and chipped the puck over Georgiev. Crosby struck 23 seconds later with a skilled play to make it 3-1. He took a feed ahead from Brian Dumoulin, entered the New York zone and split defensemen Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren before wristing a shot past Georgiev’s glove.
That chased Georgiev for Kinkaid.
Malkin extended the lead to 4-1 at 13:57 of the third when, off the rush, he one-timed a pass from Kapanen, and Aston-Reese at the right post batted the puck past Kinkaid’s skate at 16:37 of the third.

Preds cough up three-goal lead, but beat Stars in shootout
Roman Josi scored the decisive shootout goal, and the visiting Nashville Predators overcame blowing a three-goal, third-period lead to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Sunday night. Pekka Rinne made 35 saves and a huge stick stop on Dallas’ Joe Pavelski in the shootout to help the Predators snap a three-game losing streak. Mikael Granlund, Calle Jarnkrok and Eeli Tolvanen each had a regulation goal while Filip Forsberg added two assists as Nashville regrouped from a late breakdown to beat Dallas for the first time in three 2021 tries.
Down 3-0, the Stars not only ruined Rinne’s 60th-career shutout bid when Radek Faksa scored for a second straight contest with 7:30 left in regulation, but opened the door for an impressive comeback. Pavelski followed with his team-leading 12th goal – and NHL-best 10th power-play score – while the net was coming off its moorings with 5:14 to go.

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