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Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 1:50 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins could be without Maatta, Orpik

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Olli Maatta and Brooks Orpik did not take part in the morning skate Sunday at Madison Square Garden, and coach Dan Bylsma would not elaborate on any potential injuries or the details of his lineup for Game 6 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.

Maatta has not missed a game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after playing in 78 games during the regular season. Orpik has missed six of the past seven games with an undisclosed injury. He played only 5:15 in Game 4 against the Rangers and then did not play in Game 5 on Friday.

If Maatta is unable to play, Deryk Engelland will likely make his 2014 playoff debut.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 1:35 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers' St. Louis expecting emotional Mother's Day

NEW YORK -- It will be an especially poignant Mother's Day for New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis when he faces off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series Sunday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

St. Louis learned Thursday that his mother, France, had passed away at age 63. He immediately rushed to Montreal to be with his family before playing in New York's 5-1 Game 5 win in Pittsburgh on Friday. St. Louis' father, Normand, and sister, Isabelle, will be in attendance at MSG on Sunday.

The memory of France St. Louis will no doubt be in all their thoughts as the Rangers, who trail the best-of-7 series 3-2, look to avoid elimination and force a Game 7.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 1:29 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers use unique song to celebrate wins

NEW YORK -- Every NHL team has a specific song cued up in their locker room to celebrate a victory, typically a contemporary rock or hip-hop anthem. Entering Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers would like nothing more than to hear a 1970s disco classic when the final horn sounds.

The Rangers' celebratory song in these playoffs, as it has been the entire season, is "Right Back Where We Started From," a hit for British singer Maxine Nightingale in 1976. The song is older than any of the players but has been an enjoyable, if unlikely, way for the team to celebrate a win. If all goes well for the Rangers on Sunday, they'll be hearing it after Game 6 at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 1:02 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Lundqvist shines with season on the line

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers would prefer to not be trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series, but they may have the ultimate ace up their sleeve facing elimination in Game 6 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Few play better when the season is at stake than Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Trailing 3-1 in the series in Game 5 on Friday, Lundqvist made 31 saves in a 5-1 win that improved his record to 8-2 with a .953 save percentage and 1.38 goals-against average in his past 10 elimination games. In his past six elimination home games, he is 6-0 with an 0.98 goals-against average, .965 save percentage and two shutouts.

In typical Lundqvist fashion, he isn't paying attention to his statistics in must-win games.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 11:56 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Nash frustrated with scoring slump

NEW YORK -- It's not as if New York Rangers right wing Rick Nash is waiting to score a goal off his leg or his arm, but he sure would take one right about now.

Nash hasn't scored a goal in 13 straight games, including 12 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and has just one in his past 18 games as he and the Rangers prepare to play Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series, 3-2.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.10.2014 / 3:20 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Kreider finds stride in Game 5 after injury

At the start of training camp in September, New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault was talking about forward Chris Kreider's lower-body strength and power. That discussion referenced a YouTube video of Kreider jumping straight out of the shallow end of a swimming pool and landing feet first on the deck in an impressive show of raw athleticism.

Vigneault could have referenced that same video when talking about Kreider's performance in the Rangers' 5-1 win Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center, a victory that kept New York's season alive and cut Pittsburgh's lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series to 3-2.

In just his second game back after missing 19 in a row because of a hand injury, Kreider scored a goal, had two shots, was credited with six hits and created scoring chances for both himself and linemates Rick Nash and Derek Stepan by using his legs.

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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 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 Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 3:12 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Vigneault 'looking at all possibilities'

In a game the New York Rangers knew they had to have in order to regain precious momentum in their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the star players were unable to come through in the clutch.

That was the main talking point following New York's 4-2 defeat in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday and a theme that continued during the team's optional skate at its training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y., on Thursday afternoon.

The only player absent was left wing Carl Hagelin. Coach Alain Vigneault said Hagelin is fine and should be in the lineup for Game 5 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), with the Rangers down 3-1 in the series and facing Stanley Cup Playoff elimination.

The coach also shuffled his line combinations at the skate. According to The (Bergen) Record, Derek Stepan was centering the top line with Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello, and Brad Richards centered a line with Rick Nash and Daniel Carcillo, who might very well have been holding a placement for Hagelin.

"I'm looking at all possibilities right now," Vigneault told The Record. "We've had a fair amount of success by being consistent [with the line combinations]. With [Kreider] coming in [for Game 4], we basically mixed two lines; [Kreider] went in on one and we took Marty [St. Louis] off that line. So we did make some changes [Wednesday] and those didn't work out to our advantage. So we've got the whole night to think about it and try and come up with a plan."

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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette after coaching Predators to a win against Flyers on Saturday in his first game against his former team