NEW YORK – Artemi Panarin and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and two assists and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 in Game 2 on Thursday night to even the best-of-seven first-round series.
Chris Kreider, Andrew Copp and Ryan Strome also scored for the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin made 39 saves, two nights after stopping 79 shots in a triple-overtime loss in Game 1.
Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, and Jake Guentzel also scored for the Penguins. Louis Domingue, getting the start after replacing the injured Casey DeSmith in the second overtime of Game 1, finished with 34 saves.
Game 3 is Saturday night in Pittsburgh.
With the Rangers leading 3-2 after 40 minutes, the Penguins came out strong in the third period with the first nine shots on goal. Shesterkin stopped a tip by Bryan Rust and then made a diving save to deny a slap shot by Evgeni Malkin in the opening minute of the period. Shesterkin also stopped a slap shot by Guentzel 31/2 minutes in and then made a diving save on Crosby’s deflection nearly 30 seconds later.
Panarin then extended the lead to 4-2 when his centering pass from beyond the goal line deflected off Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson and past Domingue at 8:02.
Vatrano gave the Rangers a three-goal lead at 9:49. He got around Matheson in the right circle, skated in and beat Domingue inside the right post.
PANTHERS 5, CAPITALS 1: Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe each had a goal and an assist and Florida won at home to even the Eastern Conference first-round series at a game apiece.
Aaron Ekblad, Anton Lundell and Mason Marchment also scored for Florida, the top overall seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots.
Nicklas Backstrom scored for Washington. Vitek Vanecek gave up five goals on 18 shots in the first two periods, and Ilya Samsonov went into the Capitals’ net for the third period – stopping all 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes.
The series shifts to Washington, with Game 3 on Saturday and Game 4 on Monday night.
WEDNESDAY’S LATE GAMES
WILD 6, BLUES 2: Kirill Kaprizov had a hat trick, Joel Eriksson Ek scored twice and Minnesota beat visiting St. Louis to tie the series 1-1.
Frederic Gaudreau and Kaprizov scored on the power play for the Wild, who went 0 for 6 with the man advantage in their 4-0 defeat in Game 1 and were 1 for 9 against the Blues over three regular-season losses.
The Blues, who lost defender Robert Bortuzzo to injury after he blocked a shot with the side of his face in the first period, did not score on Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury until Jordan Kyrou’s rebound midway through the second on a power play. Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for the Blues.
Game 3 is Friday night in St. Louis.
OILERS 6, KINGS 0: Mike Smith bounced back with a perfect 30-save night and Edmonton beat visiting Los Angeles to even the first-round series through two games.
Evander Kane had two goals and an assist, Ryan McLeod had one of each and Jesse Puljujarvi, Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl also scored. Connor McDavid added two assists.
Smith, who made the fatal puck-handling mistake that led to Edmonton’s 4-3 loss in Game 1 on Monday, completed his fifth playoff shutout.
Jonathan Quick stopped 30 shots for the Kings.
Game 3 is Friday night in Los Angeles.
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