For additional insight into the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL.com has enlisted the help of former NHL assistant coach Gord Murphy to break down the action. Murphy will be checking in throughout the series.
Murphy enjoyed a 14-season career as an NHL defenseman before spending seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets and most recently serving as an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers.
Gord Murphy was around hockey long enough to know what is going through the minds of the players for the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers as they prepare for Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
"The mindset of a player is excitement, anxious, focused on staying in the moment and not allowing yourself to think ahead of the what-ifs," Murphy said.
Scoring first is important for each team; the one that has scored first has won all six games.
Murphy said it could be more important for the Penguins, who would have what should be a loud Consol Energy Center quickly in their corner.
"For Pittsburgh, they will be feeding off the crowd and looking to have an aggressive, up-tempo start with the offensive attitude of directing a lot of pucks and players to the net," Murphy said.
The Rangers will be looking for a similar quick start, but in their case it will be to quiet the 18,000-plus Pittsburgh fans packing the building.
"The Rangers will be looking to take the crowd out of the game," he said. "Slow it down early, get pucks out of their zone, and get it deep in the offensive zone and play down there. Manage the puck, make high-percentage plays, and continue to check and frustrate Pittsburgh's top players."