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Penguins could get Orpik back for Game 4

Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 3:02 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer / Penguins-Rangers series blog

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Penguins-Rangers series blog
Penguins could get Orpik back for Game 4

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik will be a game-time decision Wednesday against the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Orpik, who has missed the past five games, has one goal, two points and a plus-5 rating in four games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He sustained an undisclosed injury in the Penguins' first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Orpik was replaced in the lineup by Robert Bortuzzo, who has one assist and a plus-2 rating in five games. Bortuzzo's highlight-reel stretch pass to Sidney Crosby in the second period of a 2-0 victory against the Rangers in Game 3 on Monday led to the first goal of playoffs for the Penguins captain.

"There are no injury updates [on Orpik]," coach Dan Bylsma said. "Our lineup will be game-time with the exception of our goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury."

Orpik didn't speak to the media following the morning skate at MSG. The defense worked in groups of three, so the actual defense pairings remained unclear.

Bylsma was asked if he has been pleased with the play of Bortuzzo, a 25-year-old who is in his second season with the Penguins.

"I'm confident in what he's done and what he's added," Bylsma said. "He adds a different kind of physical element. Brooks is a little different, but [Bortuzzo] has more sandpaper. If he's not in there, he'll be missed with that element."

The players and coaching staff spoke about the importance of grabbing a 3-1 lead in the series heading back to Consol Energy Center for Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Friday.

"We have an opportunity to get to three wins and that's a big difference than going back home 2-2," Bylsma said. "We have to push and show some desperation because we know they're going to be desperate."

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang agreed.

"We expect their best game of the series," he said. "The difference between 2-2 and 3-1 is huge for both teams. We weren't very happy with the way we played in Game 3 [a 2-0 win]."

Forward Jussi Jokinen, who has points in seven straight games (four goals, three assists), leads the Penguins with five goals in the playoffs.

"We just need to stay out of the penalty box because that's when we'll be able to roll four lines and gain some momentum right from the start, which is something we haven't been able to do the last two games," Jokinen said. "This is a fun building to play in and we expect it to be even louder for Game 4 than it was in Game 3."

Here are the projected lineups:

PENGUINS

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Lee Stempniak

Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal

Joe Vitale - Brandon Sutter - Beau Bennett

Brian Gibbons - Marcel Goc - Craig Adams

Paul Martin - Kris Letang

Olli Maatta - Matt Niskanen

Rob Scuderi - Robert Bortuzzo

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Tanner Glass, Jayson Megna, Taylor Pyatt, Deryk Engelland, Chris Conner

Injured: Brooks Orpik (undisclosed), Pascal Dupuis (knee), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)

RANGERS

Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Martin St. Louis

Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - J.T. Miller

Brian Boyle - Dominic Moore - Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

Raphael Diaz - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Chris Kreider, Derek Dorsett, Ryan Haggerty, Daniel Carcillo, John Moore, Justin Falk

Quote of the Day

I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh