BRYAN Rust scored twice and Conor Sheary once as the Pittsburgh Penguins got big performances from their rookies to eliminate the New York Rangers from the NHL post-season with a 6-3 rout.
The Penguins dominated the Rangers with their youth and speed to close out the first-round Eastern Conference series in five games.
First-year goaltender Matt Murray stopped 38 shots for the Penguins, who have won 18 of their last 21 games.
The Penguins move on to the second round where they will play the winner between the Philadelphia Flyers-Washington Capitals series.
Alex Ovechkin’s Capitals lead 3-2 going into game six on Sunday in Philadelphia. The Penguins retooled their roster this off season adding youth and skill. This was a much different team than the one that lost to the Rangers in another five-game playoff series last year.
Every Pittsburgh goal Saturday was scored by a player who wasn’t on last year’s Penguins team.
Phil Kessel, Carl Hagelin and 39-year-old Matt Cullen also found the net as the Penguins shook off two early deficits before steamrolling the Rangers 4-0 during a dominant second period.
The Penguins used Ranger goalkeeper and Swedish international star Henrik Lundqvist as a whipping boy Saturday, scoring on six of 23 shots.
Rick Nash, Dominic Moore and Chris Kreider all scored goals for the Rangers, who were outscored 14-4 in the final three games.
Rust’s two-goal performance was the first of his career.
Sheary, who plays on the top line with Canadian Olympic hero Sidney Crosby, played pivotal roles in the Penguins’ first playoff series win since they beat Columbus in 2014.