(The Sports Xchange) - Center Matt Cullen scored a tie-breaking goal 4:16 into the third period as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the New York Rangers 3-1 in Game 3 of their first-round series at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
The Penguins hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series that will resume here Thursday night.
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray, who did not play in the first two games of the series after suffering an injury in the team’s regular-season finale, stopped 16 shots to earn his first postseason victory.
Center Sidney Crosby scored in the second period and defenseman Kris Letang added an empty-net goal with 12.1 seconds remaining.
Left winger Rick Nash scored for the Rangers, who received 28 saves from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
The Rangers appeared to take a 1-0 lead with about eight minutes remaining in the first period when left winger Chris Kreider slapped a rebound of his own shot past Murray. But the Penguins challenged the play and it was ruled that left winger J.T. Miller entered the zone illegally, which resulted in the goal being waved off.
Nash’s shorthanded goal 39 seconds into the second period would not require video review and gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead. He was sprung for a breakaway by defenseman Kevin Klein and beat Murray with a wrist shot to the far side for his first goal of the playoffs.
Crosby scored a power-play goal with 42 seconds remaining in the period to pull the Penguins into a 1-all tie. Right winger Phil Kessel fired a hard pass across the front of the net that hit Crosby’s stick and bounced over Lundqvist’s outstretched leg for his second goal of the playoffs.
Cullen worked himself into a breakaway for his first goal of the postseason early in the third period that made it 2-1. With the puck sitting at the Rangers blue line, Cullen chipped it past defensemen Dan Boyle and Keith Yandle, skated in alone on Lundqvist and used a quick wrist shot to beat him through the legs.
Editing by Peter Rutherford