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.
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:
|Back to top|