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June 17, 2019

Matt Murray’s dominance of playoff-less Rangers continues

April 25, 2019

Teddy Blueger scored two goals, Matt Murray made 33 saves and the Pittsburgh Penguins surged to a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on Monday night.

Justin Schultz, Nick Bjugstad and Matt Cullen also scored for Pittsburgh. Phil Kessel and Marcus Pettersson each added two assists.

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Murray improved to 6-0-0 against the Rangers in the regular season and 5-0-0 at Madison Square Garden.

Pittsburgh pulled into a tie with the New York Islanders for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 95 points. Both teams trail Washington by one point for first.

Brendan Lemieux and Vinni Lettieri scored for the Rangers. Alexandar Georgiev, coming off a 44-save effort in a 2-1 overtime win Saturday night at Toronto, stopped 31 shots.

Trailing 2-1, the Penguins roared back with three goals in the second.

They tied the game 61 seconds into the period on the power play. Sidney Crosby had the puck behind the Rangers net and sent a pass to Schultz, who one-timed it past Georgiev for his second of the season.

Cullen gave the Penguins their first lead when he sent a high shot past Georgiev’s left shoulder at 7:17.

The Rangers fell to Matt Murray and the Penguins on Monday night. (Bruce Bennett/Getty)

Later in the period, with the Penguins killing a penalty, Blueger skated in on a break and sent a pass to Bryan Rust. The puck deflected behind the net and Rust sent a pass to Blueger, who scored on a backhand for his fifth of the season at 13:12 to make it 4-2.

Blueger added his second of the game at 7:38 of the third. Jared McCann sent a shot at the net and Blueger got enough of the rebound to put it in for his sixth of the season. The goal withstood a replay challenge for offside.

The Rangers, who will miss the playoffs and are playing out the string, got off to a fast start in the opening period.

Mika Zibanejad skated into the zone and sent a pass to Pavel Buchnevich at the left faceoff circle. Buchnevich quickly sent a cross-ice pass to Lemieux, who wristed it past Murray for his 12th of the season at 8:25. The goal was Lemieux’s third with New York since being acquired at the trade deadline from Winnipeg.

The Rangers made it 2-0 on the power play when Lettieri fired a one-timer from the left faceoff circle past Murray at 15:15 for his first goal of the season.

Just 26 seconds later, Bjugstad got the Penguins on the board when he scored his 12th of the season. He got a loose puck and squeezed it through Georgiev’s pads to make it 2-1.

DEVILS 3, SABRES 1

Cory Schneider overcame an embarrassing early, bad-hop goal from center ice, made 45 saves and got the benefit of having a game-tying, third-period tally nullified for goaltender interference in leading the New Jersey Devils to a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.

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Blake Coleman and Pavel Zacha scored power-play goals as New Jersey won its second straight and for the fourth time in 14 games (4-9-1). Miles Wood added an empty-net goal on a length-of-the-ice shot.

Sam Reinhart scored his 20th of the season for the Sabres and had his 21st taken away by a Devils’ challenge. Linus Ullmark made 18 saves as the Sabres fell to 1-9-1 in their last 11.

Schneider was the difference in the game, especially in the final two periods when Buffalo outshot New Jersey 36-10.

The turning point came with 13:36 left in the third period, seconds after Reinhart put the rebound of a Jeff Skinner shot into an open net with Schneider on the ice. The Devils didn’t take long to challenge, contending Evan Rodrigues interfered with Schneider, although it seemed New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene was battling with the Buffalo center in the crease. After watching replays, the challenge stood and the goal was disallowed.

Schneider didn’t stop there. He stopped Skinner on a breakaway two minutes later, and also had a great stop on Tage Thompson on a blast with 2:34 to go.

Zacha had broken a 1-all tie at 4:25 of the third period with a shot from the left circle past a screened Ullmark.

The Devils scored on their first shot of the game. With No.1 overall draft pick Rasmus Dahlin off for holding, Coleman took a pass in the corner from Nico Hischier, last year’s No. 1, and came out of the corner and beat Ullmark in close at 1:55.

Reinhart tied the score with a goal that stunned the crowd at 7:23. The Buffalo forward flipped the puck from center ice toward Schneider and it took a bad bounce past the embarrassed goaltender.

– Tom Canavan | Associated Press

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