- Associated Press - Friday, May 2, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The best line on hockey’s busiest team hardly looked gassed.

The way Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot were furiously pouring in overtime goals, the New York Rangers didn’t exactly look like a group in need of a day off.

Brassard beat Marc-Andre Fleury 3:06 into overtime - with Pouliot bizarrely doing the same seven seconds later - and the Rangers stunned the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Friday night.

The winner officially went to Brassard, whose wrist shot from in front beat Fleury cleanly but caromed back onto the ice. Referee Steve Kozari waved it off, however, and play continued before Pouliot slammed the puck into a wide open net moments later for good measure.

“I found out way later (Brassard) got the goal,” Pouliot said. “Good for him. We’ve been playing well against Philly and now tonight. We deserved that.”

Pouliot and Brad Richards gave the Rangers an early 2-0 lead. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 34 shots and stuffed a late Pittsburgh breakaway in the final seconds of regulation. The line of Pouliot, Brassard and Mats Zuccarello combined for 14 points in New York’s four regular-season meetings with the Penguins.

They were the best trio on the ice on a team barely 48 hours removed from a wearying seven-game victory over Philadelphia in the opening round.

“Since Christmas they’ve probably been our most consistent line,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “They’ve got real good chemistry. They read off one another and support one another well and … they scored two in overtime.”

Lee Stempniak and James Neal scored for the Penguins. Fleury made 24 saves but was helpless on the winner.

“It was just a big pile of guys and I was trying to find the puck out of it,” Fleury said.

Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby was held without a goal for the 12th straight playoff game as the Rangers took away much of the open ice where Crosby likes to operate.

“It could’ve went either way,” Crosby said. “I don’t think we played a full 60 (minutes).”

Not exactly.

The Rangers were supposed to be exhausted after outlasting the Flyers in the opening round, not advancing until a 2-1 victory in Game 7 on Wednesday night.

Instead, it was the well-rested Penguins who appeared to need a nap.

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