NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, May 5th (All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (1-1) at New York Rangers (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to grab their first lead of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday when the series shifts to New York City for Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.
This best-of-seven set is tied at one game apiece. The Rangers opened the series with Friday's 3-2 overtime win in Pittsburgh, but the Penguins rebounded with a 3-0 victory Sunday in the Steel City.
New York went 20-17-4 at Madison Square Garden during the regular season and posted a 2-1 record on home ice against Philadelphia in the opening round. The Rangers, of course, eliminated the Flyers with a 2-1 Game 7 victory at MSG on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh and the Rangers split a pair of meeting in New York this season, but the Pens have claimed five of the last seven regular-season encounters in the Big Apple.
Marc-Andre Fleury anchored Sunday's home win over the Rangers, making 22 saves to set a franchise record with his seventh career playoff shutout. Pittsburgh's frequently criticized netminder also picked up his 50th career postseason win, becoming the 17th goalie in league history to reach the milestone.
"He was very good tonight," Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said of Fleury. "The calmness and how he made the saves ... It made it feel like it wasn't as many (chances). But the puck was in the crease a little bit and he played it really well. He deserved the shutout tonight."
Kris Letang was credited with a goal and collected assists on third-period goals by Jussi Jokinen and Evgeni Malkin. Letang's goal was the 15th of his postseason career, tying Larry Murphy for the most by a defenseman in franchise history.
Pittsburgh won despite giving the Rangers three power-play opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Pens killed off the three early penalties and New York finished the game 0-for-4 on the power play.
"Maybe the penalty killers set the tone for us," said Bylsma. "Maybe it was them stepping over the boards in those situations. You are not happy about having to kill three in a row but they do a great job for us and I thought, to a man, our players were extremely good tonight."
Sidney Crosby is still without a goal in eight playoff games this spring, but the Penguins star captain did register six shots on net in Game 2. Crosby, who has 40 career postseason goals, has gone 13 straight games in the playoffs without scoring. He has six assists in this postseason.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 32 shots for New York, which has now failed to score on 29 straight opportunities with the power play. The Blueshirts are just 3- for-37 with the man advantage in this postseason.
"Power play had some looks," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "Could have given us momentum, we didn't finish. Power play ultimately is my responsibility, and I've got to find the right trigger points here to make it work and spend the night trying to figure it out."
New York is aiming for its first playoff series win against Pittsburgh, which has won all four previous postseason meetings. The Pens boast a 17-5 all-time record against the Rangers in the playoffs and a 7-2 mark at the Garden.
Overall, the Rangers have won seven of nine and 12 of their last 17 home playoff games.
Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik has missed three straight games for Pittsburgh with an undisclosed injury and expects to sit out again on Monday. Orpik has been sidelined since missing Game 6 against Columbus in the opening round and Robert Bortuzzo has filled in for him.
The Rangers will also host Game 4 of this set on Wednesday before the series heads back to Pittsburgh for Friday's Game 5.
05/05 10:28:39 ET