Pittsburgh’s Jeff Carter, second from left, celebrates his goal during the second period against the Rangers Monday night in Pittsburgh. Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists to become the sixth player in NHL history to reach 200 career playoff points and the Pittsburgh Penguins throttled the New York Rangers 7-2 on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Jake Guentzel scored for the fourth consecutive game and Jeff Carter, Danton Heinen, Mark Friedman and Mike Matheson also beat Igor Shesterkin as the Penguins chased the Vezina Trophy favorite for the second time in three days to move within one game of advancing in the postseason for the first time since 2018.

Shesterkin, who dazzled by making 118 saves in the first two games of the series at Madison Square Garden, sat out the third period after giving up six goals on 30 shots. Alexandar Georgiev allowed Evgeni Malkin’s second goal of the playoffs in the third and could find himself the starter when the series heads back to New York for Game 5 on Wednesday.

Alexis Lafreniere picked up his first career postseason goal for the Rangers to give New York an early lead, but it didn’t come close to holding. Adam Fox’s second of the playoffs pulled New York to within two late in the second period, but Pittsburgh responded by pumping in two more past Shesterkin in the waning moments .

Shesterkin, who limited the Penguins to four goals in four games during the regular season, surrendered twice that total in three periods in Pittsburgh as the Rangers — who entered the series as the favorites — limped to the cusp of a quick exit.

While Shesterkin has struggled, Pittsburgh third-stringer Louis Domingue is nearing local cult hero status while filling in for injured All-Star Tristan Jarry.

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Domingue made 22 saves to win his third game of the series. Not bad for a 30-year-old journeyman making his playoff debut after spending most of the last three seasons in the minors.

Jarry, who is recovering from a broken foot, is skating and faced shots during Monday morning’s optional skate. Pittsburgh Coach Mike Sullivan hinted last week that Jarry could return if the series ran long.

PANTHERS 3, CAPITALS 2: Sam Reinhart tied it late in regulation, Carter Verhaeghe scored his second of the game in overtime and the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida won at Washington, tying the first-round series.

Verhaeghe scored 4:57 into overtime to keep the NHL’s best regular-season team from getting pushed to the brink of elimination much earlier in the playoffs than expected. It’s a best-of-three series now with Game 5 Wednesday night at Florida.

NOTES

AVALANCHE: Darcy Kuemper sat out Game 4 with the Colorado goaltender’s right eye still swollen from being poked by a stick through his mask.

Coach Jared Bednar said Pavel Francouz, who made 18 saves in nearly 41 minutes coming off the bench in relief on Saturday, will start against Nashville. Justus Annunen, recalled from Colorado’s AHL affiliate, will back up Francouz.

Kuemper was hurt late in the first period of the Avs’ 7-3 win on Saturday. Play stopped with 56.6 seconds left, and replays showed Predators center Ryan Johansen’s stick poked through Kuemper’s mask. The goalie was able to skate off and headed to the locker room holding a towel to his face.


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