Home-ice advantage finally meant something Friday night in a game that was only 60 minutes long.
Both phenomena appeared in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins, who took four overtimes to win on Wednesday night, made shorter work of it, getting spectacular goaltending from Ken Wregget in a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.
Pittsburgh took a 3-2 lead in the series by being the first team to win on its own ice. The Penguins can finish things off Sunday in Landover, Md.
Wregget stopped 39 shots and got support from Mario Lemieux, who scored his first goal of the series.
The game degenerated at the end, and Washington Coach Jim Schoenfeld was ejected.
"Ken Wregget was the best player on the ice--by far," said Schoenfeld, who was heaped with trash as he was escorted off the ice with 1:05 to play.
Schoenfeld and Penguin assistant Bryan Trottier had to be separated after the two coaching staffs nearly began fighting.
Schoenfeld accused Pittsburgh Coach Eddie Johnston of sending out Alek Stojanov to fight Mark Tinordi, who spent much of the third period engaging Wregget. Johnston was angry Capitals' enforcer Craig Berube played a power-play shift with Washington down, 4-1.
"He said we sent somebody out there [to fight]. . . . I've never done that in 40 years," Johnston said.
"I don't know the color of the moon on Eddie's planet," Schoenfeld said. "Look at it logically. Would I have my skill guys--Joe Juneau, Sylvain Cote, Serge Gonchar--on the ice [to fight]? I wouldn't risk my skill guys for that."
New York Rangers 3, Montreal 2--Brian Leetch and Alexei Kovalev scored in the first four minutes of the third period for the Rangers, who won in New York and moved within one victory of the second round of the playoffs.
The Rangers took a 3-2 lead in the series, which they can wrap up Sunday at Montreal.
The Rangers were clinging to a 1-0 lead through two periods before Leetch and Kovalev each scored his first goal of the playoffs.
The Rangers can become only the 10th team in NHL history to win a seven-game series after losing the first two games at home.