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Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 1:23 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins' Crosby gets last chance to impact series

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Tuesday there will be one defining image of Game 7 of his team's Eastern Conference Second Round series with the New York Rangers.

He doesn't know what that picture will be, or who will be in it. But there's a pretty good chance it could include Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

When the Penguins take the ice against the Rangers on Tuesday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), Crosby will be the most talented player out there. But he'll also be a player with one goal in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games this year, and three points in six games in the series.

It's not that Crosby has played poorly in the postseason. He has nine points in 12 games. He's won 57.3 percent of his faceoffs against the Rangers, including 66.7 percent in Games 5 and 6. And he's the second-best possession player in the postseason, with a Corsi-for percentage of 61.1 percent.

But when you're Sidney Crosby, and you have the resume he's built in nine seasons in the NHL, strong possession numbers and faceoff-success rates are not what people are looking for. And Crosby knows as much.

"I think everyone puts pressure on themselves," he said. "As far as talking about myself, of course I put more pressure on myself to make sure I'm at my best. You want to help the team as much as you can. Big game, big moment, you want to be at your best."

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Posted On Friday, 05.09.2014 / 6:49 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

St. Louis to play for Rangers after mother's death

PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis will be in the lineup for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), one day after the death of his mother.

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 3-1.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said St. Louis learned of the death of his mother France, 63, on Thursday, not long after the Rangers landed here. Vigneault said St. Louis immediately left the team to return to his family's home in Montreal.

Speaking with St. Louis on Thursday and Friday, Vigneault said St. Louis expressed a desire to play in Game 5.

"This morning he said that he talked to his dad," Vigneault said Friday. "And him and his dad both agreed that his mom would want him to be here, and that's what he did."

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Posted On Friday, 05.09.2014 / 5:32 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins control puck by dominating faceoff circle

PITTSBURGH -- One of the biggest reasons the Pittsburgh Penguins hold a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers has been their dominance in the faceoff circle.

The Penguins can return to the Eastern Conference Final with a win Friday in Game 5 (7 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

One way they can get there is to continue to win the possession battle, starting with their success on faceoffs. Through four games, the Pens have won 54.3 percent of the draws.

That dominance was most evident in Game 4, when the Penguins won 31 of 49 draws in the game en route to a 4-2 victory.

"Faceoffs are big," Penguins forward Marcel Goc said following practice Friday. "If you can win the majority and you start with puck possession, that's what we want."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.04.2014 / 1:41 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Stralman to see time on Rangers power play

PITTSBURGH -- It's usually the team trailing in a series that feels a need to play desperate hockey. But the New York Rangers are feeling their own level of desperation going into Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 1-0 and have a chance to take a 2-0 series lead back to New York. That's despite a power play that has been in a deep sleep for much of the postseason.

"It's a great opportunity," defenseman Anton Stralman said. "I think everybody is looking to this game and really feeling good about our last game, and hopefully we can carry that over to [Game 2]. It's a big game. If we can get out of here with a 2-0 lead that would be great."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.03.2014 / 5:17 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers looking to improve struggling power play

PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault knows how important it is for his team to be successful on the power play. But the current struggles with the man advantage aren't causing him too much concern.

The Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in overtime in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series despite going 0-for-4 on the power play. That ran their streak of consecutive unsuccessful power plays to 25, dating to Game 2 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Game 2 against Pittsburgh will be Sunday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

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Posted On Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 3:24 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

League finals begin this week in OHL, QMJHL, WHL

While the NHL stars of today are ready to start the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the players of tomorrow are focused on their goal of reaching the Memorial Cup.

The Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League all will start their league finals this week, with the winning teams advancing to join the host London Knights in the Canadian Hockey League championship series May 16-27.

The first series to start is the OHL final between the Guelph Storm and North Bay Battalion, which begins Thursday.

Leading the way for Guelph is center Robert Fabbri, who is No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft. The 5-foot-10, 164-pound center had nine goals and nine assists in 11 playoff games; his nine goals are tied for second on the team and he has at least a point in eight straight games.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 5:34 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Berube feels Flyers bring good energy into Game 7

NEW YORK -- Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube knows what's at stake Wednesday, but said he's trying to treat Game 7 of his team's Eastern Conference First Round playoff series against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN2, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG) as he would any other game.

"We'll talk about the same things we always talk about before games," Berube said. "Go over things, get them prepared."

Berube said his team played its best game of the series in its 5-2 win in Game 6 on Tuesday. To win Game 7 and advance to a second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he said they need to repeat that effort.

"We want to have lots of energy; good energy," Berube said. "We want to play aggressive. It's important to get skating right away in a game like this."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 6:36 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Ankle surgery sidelines Flyers' Grossmann

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann will miss 8-10 weeks after having surgery Tuesday to repair a damaged tendon in his right ankle. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren made the announcement in a press release.

Grossmann was injured in Game 4 of the Flyers' Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers when he fell into the boards during a battle for the puck with the Rangers' Derick Brassard.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 12:48 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Gustafsson replaces Gill for Flyers in Game 6

PHILADELPHIA -- For the second straight game the Philadelphia Flyers will have a new defenseman in the lineup.

Erik Gustafsson will replace Hal Gill when the Flyers face the New York Rangers on Tuesday in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series (7:30 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, NBCSN, MSG, CSN-PH). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.

"I like his speed," coach Craig Berube said of Gustafsson. "He's a quick player up ice. ... Just looking at that aspect of it."

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Posted On Monday, 04.28.2014 / 3:18 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Flyers series blog

Flyers' Gustafsson could add speed element to lineup

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube wasn't ready to disclose his lineup for Game 6 of his team's Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).

But with his team looking to upgrade its speed, one option could be inserting defenseman Erik Gustafsson.

The 25-year-old had two goals and eight assists in 31 regular-season games, but has played four games in April and has been a healthy scratch through the first five games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"He can get up the ice," coach Craig Berube said of Gustafsson. "We have guys that can do that; we just haven't done it enough."

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