What the sudden playoff demises of Sidney Crosby and Chris Paul remind us about sports’ cruel timing

Title windows often open and close quickly in professional sports. Father Time remains undefeated, and there are no guarantees of sustained success in a world where free-agent departures and significant injuries are so prevalent. Amid a cluster of thrilling and not-so-thrilling Game 7s in the NBA and the NHL over the weekend, we saw one … Read more

Igor Shesterkin’s resilience powers Rangers’ series comeback: ‘Mr. Reliable’

Igor Shesterkin played like the Rangers’ heart — and the NHL’s Hart — over three straight comeback victories to help the Rangers advance to the second round of the playoffs.  Shesterkin, the first-time Hart Trophy finalist for league MVP honors, delivered on that billing again Sunday night with 42 saves in the Rangers’ 4-3 overtime … Read more

Rangers beat Penguins 4-3 in Game 7 OT

NEW YORK — Artemi Panarin scored a power-play goal 4:46 into overtime and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 Sunday night to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, and Chris Kreider and K’Andre Miller also scored for New York, which … Read more

Rangers-Penguins further proof that best of seven is perfect length for series

Somehow, the people who invented and designed our favorite sports seemed to get just about everything right. In baseball, 90 feet between the basepaths is perfect geometry. In hoops, it is impossible to even conjure a 17-foot free throw, or a 13-footer; 15 is just right. Football fields were supposed to be 100 yards long … Read more

Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin provides assist amid strong return to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — The Rangers have relied on goalie Igor Shesterkin all season long. Friday night, he even turned in an assist at a crucial moment of their 5-3 Game 6 victory over the Penguins. With the Rangers on a power play in the second period, Shesterkin skated without hesitation all the way to the bottom … Read more

Rangers’ power play finally erupts after series-long struggles

Through the first five games of their first-round playoff series, the Rangers’ power play had scored three times on 12 opportunities. They nearly produced as many goals on Friday night alone.  Of their three opportunities, the Rangers scored twice, keying a come-from-behind, 5-3 Game 6 victory over the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.  It’s safe … Read more

Rangers’ Ryan Lindgren has major impact in return from injury

The Rangers finally got the second half of their top defensive pair back.  Ryan Lindgren returned for their 5-3 elimination-avoiding win over the Penguins on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, after the 24-year-old defenseman had missed the previous three games with an undisclosed lower-body injury. He lined up in his usual spot next to … Read more

Rangers’ Ryan Lindgren sits for third straight game with injury in loss

PITTSBURGH — Despite participating in morning skate prior to the Rangers’ no-show 7-2 loss in Game 4 against the Penguins on Monday, Ryan Lindgren was sidelined for a third straight game with an undisclosed lower-body injury.  Additionally, Dryden Hunt was scratched in favor of Jonny Brodzinski, who made his NHL playoff debut in the loss. … Read more

Igor Shesterkin yanked for second straight game in Rangers disaster

Put Igor Shesterkin’s name next to Johnny Cueto’s in Pittsburgh sports lore. For the second game in a row, with a partisan Penguins crowd chanting his name in singsong fashion at PPG Paints Arena, Shesterkin was pulled — this time after 40 minutes on Monday. After a disastrous second period in which Shesterkin gave up … Read more

Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin in uncharted territory after Game 3 benching

PITTSBURGH — The chants of, “Igor … Igor … Igor,” reverberated throughout the building before the puck had been dropped on Game 3. But this was not the Garden and Igor Shesterkin was hardly receiving a tribute from the crowd that packed the Penguins’ arena here on Saturday. Instead, the chant was delivered in a … Read more