“I believe the playoffs sometimes can reveal who you’re, the type of character you’ve got,” Kreider said. “For him to remain together with his game and proceed to work, he’s been an enormous, huge leader for us all 12 months. He’s been an absolute horse.”
The Rangers trailed, 2-0 after one period, and the Penguins, playing without Sidney Crosby, their star center and captain, were 40 minutes from advancing to the second round. But Zibanejad scored two goals on one-time slap shots inside 76 seconds to tie the sport.
“There’s no quit,” Zibanejad said of the comeback. “That’s what I like about this team.”
A couple of minutes later there was one other crazy breakaway. The play began when Igor Shesterkin, the Rangers goalie, took advantage of a foul Penguins line change and made an ideal 100-foot stretch pass onto Zibanejad’s stick. Zibanejad was in alone again.
“His passing is typically higher than all of us,” Zibanejad said of Shesterkin’s stick work.
Penguins goalie Louis Domingue made the initial stop on Zibanejad, but Kreider was right there together with his linemate, and he smacked home the rebound to present the Rangers the lead, 3-2. If that sounds much like the scoring pattern of Game 5 at Madison Square Garden, it was, and it might proceed, right all the way down to Recent York’s final empty-net goal at the tip.
Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins to even things up, 3-3, on a breakaway late within the second period. The sport remained tied until there was just one:28 left to play. Kreider then unleashed a high slap shot that Domingue saved in front of his chest, however the puck spun up over his head and fell back behind him and into the web.
“No one said it was going to be easy,” said Kris Letang, the Penguins defenseman. “They’re a extremely good team. They’ve a number of expert players that may rating goals.”