This time the Pittsburgh Penguins can say they got all the right bounces and literally mean it.
A fluke goal that caromed off New York defenseman Ulf Samuelsson's face in the first period started the Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night and gave them a 2-1 lead in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinal."We didn't come out and play the way we wanted to," Rangers forward Shane Churla said. "We had a bad break with the goal that went off Ulf's head."
Mario Lemieux was credited with the goal, although video replays were inconclusive as to whether the puck actually hit him before bouncing into the net at 6:33 of the first period.
Lemieux wasn't sure himself.
"I just saw (the puck) at the last second and Ulfie was right behind me," Lemieux said. "It hit him right in the face and it went in. I couldn't believe it went in."
Nor could the Rangers.
"I heard (Samuelsson) say `Ouch', and it just took a funny bounce," Rangers goaltender Mike Richter said. "But it shows you if you put the puck on net, anything can happen."
Lemieux's next goal was more artistic - a sharply angled shot from low on the left side.
"Once they got that second goal, we were a bit panicked in our zone," Richter said. "But that's when we have to slow it down, and do the basics."
Before they knew it, the Rangers fell behind 3-0 on a goal by Tomas Sandstrom, then had to play catch-up the rest of the game.
Flyers 3, Panthers 1
At Miami, Eric Lindros responded to derogatory remarks and posters from Florida fans by scoring the game-winner for the second consecutive game as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Panthers 3-1 Tuesday night.
The loss in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinals gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead and was Florida's first home loss during the playoffs. Game 4 is Thursday night in Miami.
Dan Quinn also scored a goal and assisted on another goal and Trent Klatt had his fourth goal of the playoffs for Philadelphia.
Lindros - blasted as a cheap shot artist in the South Florida media for his hits on Florida players in Game 2 - scored what turned out to be the deciding goal off a rebound near the goal line.
It was the second goal in less than a minute on consecutive power plays set up by a double-minor to Brian Skrudland of the Panthers.
Paul Laus had Florida's only goal.