NEW YORK — The Pittsburgh Penguins have had so much success at Madison Square Garden, they might not have to make a return trip to Broadway until next season.
Brandon Sutter scored a short-handed goal to break a second-period tie and the Penguins rode that momentum to move within one win of the Eastern Conference finals with a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
Pittsburgh, which has won three straight after a series-opening loss, can advance with a Game 5 victory at home Friday night. The Penguins are looking to reach the East finals for the second straight year and the fourth in seven seasons.
“We know they are going to be desperate,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “They have a lot of depth, and a lot of guys that can create things, so we have to have the same mentality that we had.”
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The Penguins turned a tied series into a 3-1 lead at the Garden, where they have won seven of nine and are 12-4 since Dan Bylsma became their coach. Overall, Pittsburgh is 19-5 against the Rangers in the playoffs and 9-2 in New York.
“This is one of the best places to come in and play,” Bylsma said. “It’s a great building and we seem to always have a rivalry with the Rangers, so we don’t need that motivation for the playoffs. I don’t have a good recipe for you.”
Evgeni Malkin scored 2:31 in and Jussi Jokinen made it 3-1 at 7:02 of the third before the teams traded late goals. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 13 shots.
The only negative for the Penguins was that Fleury allowed a goal for the first time in three games. Carl Hagelin’s tying tally in the second period was the Rangers’ first goal in 145 minutes, 30 seconds of playing time.
Mats Zuccarello cut it to 3-2 with 6:53 left on the Rangers’ second shot of the third, but Chris Kunitz restored Pittsburgh’s two-goal edge 57 seconds later.
• The St. Louis Blues extended coach Ken Hitchcock’s contract through next season, though there will be some staff changes.
• Ron Hextall was promoted to general manager by the Philadelphia Flyers to replace Paul Holmgren, who was elevated to president. Hextall is Philadelphia’s all-time winningest goalie and served as assistant GM this year.