Stanley Cup playoffs
The New York Rangers eliminated Quebec from the Stanley Cup playoffs Tuesday in what likely was the Nordiques’ final game before moving to Denver.
The Rangers built a big early lead, received two goals from Alexei Kovalev and went on to win 4-2 at New York, ending the first-round series in six games.
The Nordiques had the secondbest record in the NHL and the second-best power play, but neither meant anything against the Rangers, who struggled to make the playoffs and await the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round this weekend.
After Kovalev scored his second goal of the game to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead midway through the second period, the Madison Square Garden crowd started chanting, “We want Hextall,” referring to Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall.
Just a few hours before the game, the Nordiques learned that management had rejected a government plan to try to keep the financially troubled club in Quebec. Denver is the frontrunner to land the Nordiques for next season.
The Nordiques finally managed their first power-play goal against the Rangers since the first game, by Peter Forsberg at 5:34 of the third, but it came when the Rangers had the game well in hand.
The Nordiques, who had a 24-percent completion rate during the season, finished with just two power-play goals in 25 attempts in the series.
Rangers 4, Nordiques 2
Quebec 0 1 1 - 2 N.Y. Rangers 3 1 0 - 4
First period-1, New York, Verbeek 2 (Leetch, Messier), 2:11 (pp). 2, New York, Kovalev 3 (Zubov, Lowe), 8:26. 3, New York, Nemchinov 3 (Leetch, Larmer), 19:57.
Second period-4, New York, Kovalev 4 (Nemchinov, Kypreos), 10:18. 5, Quebec, Sakic 4 (Leschyshyn, Corbet), 15:56 (sh).
Third period-6, Quebec, Forsberg 2 (Sakic, Clark), 5:34 (pp).
Shots on goal-Quebec 8-9-11-28. New York 16-11-12-39.Power-play opp.-Quebec 1 of 4; New York 1 of 8.Goalies-Quebec, Thibault 1-2 (16 shots-13 saves), Fiset (0:00 second, 23-22). New York, Richter 2-2 (28-26).A-18,200 (18,200).
Penguins 7, Capitals 1
Jaromir Jagr and Luc Robitaille each scored twice in a four-goal first period that carried Pittsburgh past Washington, tying the best-of-seven playoff at 3-3.
The final game of the first-round series will be played Thursday at Pittsburgh. The Penguins will seek to duplicate their comeback of 1992, when they rallied from a 3-1 deficit to oust Washington on the way to winning the Stanley Cup.
Pittsburgh was 0-5 in its last five road playoff games against Washington, including 6-2 losses in Games 3 and 4. In addition, the Capitals had put together a seven-game home winning streak that included a 7-2 victory over Pittsburgh in their regular-season finale.
Pittsburgh 4 2 1 - 7 Washington 0 0 1 - 1
First period-1, Pittsburgh, Robitaille 5 (Murphy, Sandstrom), :42. 2, Pittsburgh, Jagr 6 (Maciver), 3:37. 3, Pittsburgh, Jagr 7 (Murphy, Stevens), 9:31 (pp). 4, Pittsburgh, Robitaille 6 (Sandstrom, Leroux), 12:02.
Second period-5, Pittsburgh, Murray 1, 15:27. 6, Pittsburgh, Sandstrom 2 (McEachern, Robitaille), 18:48.
Third period-7, Pittsburgh, Sandstrom 3 (Robitaille, Cullen), :27 (pp). 8, Washington, Jones 4 (Konowalchuk), 18:33.
Shots on goal-Pittsburgh 14-4-3-21. Washington 7-9-15-31.Power-play opp.-Pittsburgh 2 of 6; Washington 0 of 6.Goalies-Pittsburgh, Wregget 3-2 (31 shots-30 saves). Washington, Carey 2-3 (3-1), Kolzig (3:37 first, 5-5), Carey (9:19 first 10-6), Dafoe (0:00 third 3-2).A-15,412 (18,130).
To err is to be fined
Referee Andy Van Hellemond was fined by the National Hockey League for mistakenly disallowing a goal by Quebec’s Joe Sakic in Game 4 of the Nordiques’ playoff series against the New York Rangers.
“Upon reviewing videotapes and interviewing Andy Van Hellemond, it is clear that Van Hellemond erred in judgment when he disallowed an apparent goal by the Nordiques’ Joe Sakic,” commissioner Gary Bettman said in a written statement.
The statement said Van Hellemond was “reprimanded and disciplined for his error.”
Despite the ruling, Bettman called Van Hellemond “one of the National Hockey League’s finest referees over his 24 seasons in the league.”
Across the ice
San Jose Sharks goalie Arturs Irbe will not be disciplined for a collision with Calgary Flames right wing Sheldon Kennedy… . Brendan Shanahan of the St. Louis Blues fractured his right ankle in Monday’s overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks and did not make the trip to Vancouver for Game 6 of the first-round playoff series.
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