Rangers knock out the Penguins after Sidney Crosby goes out to win Game 5 and stay alive

Flexible guards are still here.

After being eliminated in Game Five, Rangers capitalized on the injury of Penguin star Sidney Crosby – who departed near the end of the second half – and scored a 5-3 win Wednesday night in front of a sold-out crowd. 18,006 in Madison Square Garden.

Philip Sheetle, who said while on hand in the media before the game that he was eager to get on the ice after not showing up for Rangers in the fourth game, scored the match-winning goal in less than three minutes into the third half.

Game 6 of the first round of the Stanley Cup series is scheduled for Friday night in Pittsburgh. Rangers, who are 3-2 behind in the series, will have to win the PPG Paints Arena, dropping a total of 14 goals in games 3 and 4.

After the Penguins led 2-0, the kids led the way for the Rangers, as they did for much of this series. Kid Line’s Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko scored twice, with the equalizer tally coming from Lafreniere at 16:41 of the second half, from a superb feed from Kakko behind Pittsburgh’s net.

Rangers regained some grit in their back end with Ryan Lindgren returning to the squad after missing the last three matches due to an undisclosed lower body injury. Lindgren, accustomed to himself, capped the scoring in the empty net 16 seconds before the end of the match.

Philip Chettle (centre) celebrates his match-winning goal with Frank Vatrano (right) and Andrew Cobb during Rangers' 5-3 Game Five victory over the Penguins.
Philip Chettle (centre) celebrates his match-winning goal with Frank Vatrano (right) and Andrew Cobb during Rangers’ 5-3 Game Five victory over the Penguins.
NHLI via Getty Images

Igor Shesterkin made the park crowd chant his name before the national anthem was played. The fans in attendance surely knew just how much their star needed some encouragement after being pulled in the previous two matches. Shesterkin made 28 in the win, 12 of them in the third game.

The zoo crowd seemed to be losing hope after Chris Letang once fed Evgeny Malkin at 7:58 of the second half giving the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Pittsburgh was blocking every lane, blocking shot after shot and pushing the Rangers into the ocean in all three areas.

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But when Crosby left for the dressing room with 6:32 left in the middle frame, after absorbing a powerful blow from Jacob Tropa, things suddenly opened up for Rangers, who scored three goals in 2:42.

Chris Letang celebrates after scoring a goal against Igor Shesterkin during Rangers' Game 5 win over the Penguins.
Chris Letang celebrates after scoring a goal against Igor Shesterkin during Rangers’ Game 5 win over the Penguins.
New York Post: Charles Wenselberg

coincidence? Mostly not.

After keeping some time in the offensive zone, Adam Fox sent a high gauntlet to Louis Domingo to cut the Rangers deficit to 2-1 and wake up every Blueshirts fan in the building. From behind the Pittsburgh nets, Kakko then fed Lafreniere up front to score. Lafreniere continued to feed the crowd, raising his hands as he celebrated his second goal of the series.

Trouba rode the Rangers’ momentum, drove into the net and finished with a backhand kick to give his team the lead in the first game at 17:53. However, the Penguins tied it up again 13 seconds later when Jake Goetzel buried another out of the hole.

The Rangers made things difficult for themselves just 24 seconds after the disc fell, when Chris Kreider took a penalty and Tropa was called to the elbow to send the Penguins to a five-for-three early on. Pittsburgh didn’t capitalize, but apparently built momentum from it as Rangers didn’t hit a single shot on target until seven minutes later.

Guentzel collected his own rebounding ball and grabbed it at Shesterkin from below the goal line to open the scoring with his sixth run of the series in 10:28.