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Posted On Monday, 05.12.2014 / 5:45 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins put rest of series in past, focus on Game 7

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins would have rather avoided a Game 7 in their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers. But after allowing a 3-1 series lead to evaporate, they want to embrace the moment.

Pittsburgh seemed to be playing its best hockey in several weeks after winning three straight games to take a 3-1 series lead. They regressed in the following two games, losing them by the combined score of 8-2, with the Rangers evening the series 3-3 entering Game 7 on Tuesday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"I think a little bit, you can look at Games 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 as mirror opposites of each other," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "That was a team after Game 4 that was a little bit frustrated and a little bit disappointed with how they played and vowed to be better in Game 5 and were. … We can't live in Games 3 and 4. We certainly can't live in Games 5 and 6.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.10.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins' Scuderi remains confident despite criticism

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi has been criticized for his underwhelming performance during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Coach, Dan Bylsma said he thinks that perception is unfair.

Scuderi is a minus-3 through 11 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which ranks last among Pittsburgh defensemen. The two-time Stanley Cup champion has struggled since returning in December from a broken leg that sidelined him for two months.

That continued Friday, when Scuderi made a miscue that led to one of the New York Rangers' two power-play goals during Pittsburgh's 5-1 loss in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series.

Game 6 of the best-of-7 series, which Pittsburgh leads 3-2, is Sunday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Bylsma said Scuderi does not receive the credit he deserves because he is not a high-octane offensive performer.

"He's a fairly unassuming defenseman in how he plays," Bylsma said of Scuderi. "He's a guy who defends and is always thinking defense. The PK is a big part of that. We had some unforced errors and that was one of them. You don't get it cleared, it's in the back of the net a few seconds later.

"That's not the only mistake in the game. But I think Rob's played some of his best hockey for us in these playoffs."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 1:28 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins, up 3-1, want to keep foot on the pedal

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins hold a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers, but Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said they are not content.

After losing 3-2 in overtime in Game 1, Pittsburgh has won the next three games by the combined score of 9-2. The Penguins have shut out the Rangers twice and shut down New York’s power play, which has failed to score on its last 36 opportunities.

But despite controlling the momentum, Bylsma will not be satisfied until the Penguins earn a series-clinching win, which could come in Game 5 at Consol Energy Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"We had that mentality going into the last game," Bylsma said. "It was a situation where the Rangers had played, I think, a really good Game 3 and we were able to get a second wind. Last night was either, 2-2 or 3-1 and we didn't want to wait to see how that game would turn out and make it best-of-5.

"Now, we're almost in the same situation. We don't want to give them any life. We don't want to let them any opportunity and we have that ability coming back here at Consol with our fans, in our building, to get that fourth win."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.04.2014 / 7:18 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Gibbons in Penguins lineup for Game 2

PITTSBURGH -- Forward Brian Gibbons will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers.

Gibbons, who missed five games with an undisclosed injury, skated in place of forward Tanner Glass during the Penguins' pregame warmups. He did not skate on a line during Pittsburgh's morning skate.

Gibbons will play fourth-line right wing with forwards Marcel Goc and Craig Adams at Consol Energy Center on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).


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Posted On Sunday, 05.04.2014 / 1:15 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins' Orpik unlikely for Game 2 vs. Rangers

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will have the same lineup, but expect to be a different team when they face the New York Rangers in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series Sunday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

That means defenseman Brooks Orpik will most likely miss his fourth consecutive game with an undisclosed injury after taking part in the Penguins' optional practice on Saturday.

Pittsburgh did not make any line adjustments during its morning skate on Sunday. Orpik did not return to the ice after skating on his own about an hour before the skate and forward Brian Gibbons (undisclosed) did not work on a line.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.03.2014 / 2:10 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins' Orpik skates; status uncertain for Game 2

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik skated Saturday for the first time since sustaining an undisclosed injury, but his status remains unknown for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Rangers.

Orpik participated in Pittsburgh's optional practice Saturday morning along with several Penguins. The group consisted mostly of players who aren't expected to play in Game 2 on Sunday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). Orpik has not officially rejoined the team and left the ice several minutes before any other player.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who does not offer injury updates during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, did not discuss Orpik's injury.

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Posted On Friday, 05.02.2014 / 1:21 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins likely to have Sutter, Vitale for Game 1

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will likely have forwards Brandon Sutter and Joe Vitale in their lineup to start their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers on Friday.

Sutter and Vitale each left Pittsburgh's Game 6 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets early with apparent injuries. Sutter returned to the bench late in the third period but did not step back on the ice. Vitale did not return after a knee-to-knee hit that left him lying on the ice for several minutes before being helped to the locker room.

Sutter said he expects to play in Game 1 at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"I think everyone feels good," Sutter said. "We had a couple days to rest and had a good few practices and hopefully we're all feeling fresh by tonight. [The Rangers] definitely had a good second half. They played well and managed to get home ice in the first round. It's going to be a tight series and we expect tight, tight games."

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Posted On Friday, 05.02.2014 / 1:15 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers shrug off concerns about busy schedule

PITTSBURGH -- Despite a schedule that has the New York Rangers playing six games in nine days, they do not think they are at a disadvantage entering Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Rangers will play their third game in four days Friday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). Pittsburgh has had three days to rest and practice since their last game, but New York doesn't think that will affect the series' outcome.

"You can't look at the big picture," Rangers forward Martin St. Louis said. "You just have to focus on the game, and then once that game's over, regroup and focus on Game 2. You can't focus on six in nine. They're in the same boat that we are, so we aren't going to overthink it. Just get ready for the next game."

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Posted On Monday, 04.28.2014 / 1:05 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Penguins may pair Crosby, Malkin again in Game 6

COLUMBUS -- The Pittsburgh Penguins could play forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin together for the second consecutive game Monday.

The Penguins separated the two centers at the morning skate after using Crosby and Malkin on the same line throughout Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Malkin returned to the second line between forwards Jussi Jokinen and James Neal, while forward Lee Stempniak rejoined Crosby and forward Chris Kunitz.

But Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he expects to put Crosby and Malkin together through at least a portion of Game 6 Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, ROOT, FS-O) at Nationwide Arena. Crosby, who has five assists but no goals in the series, said he thinks he is playing well even if it isn't apparent on the score sheet.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 1:00 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Blue Jackets series blog

Penguins looking to finish Blue Jackets in Game 6

PITTSBURGH -- If the Pittsburgh Penguins are to eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday, they will need to break a pattern in the process.

Throughout the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series, led 3-2 by Pittsburgh, each team has responded to adversity. A trend has formed that involves one team taking an early lead before losing one game, then falling behind early before coming from behind to win the next.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said the Penguins joked following their 3-1 win in Game 5 on Saturday that they would consider handing Columbus a 1-0 lead to start Game 6 at Nationwide Arena (7 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS2, ROOT, FS-O).

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