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Penguins again missing Pouliot, Bennett for Game 5

by Mike G. Morreale /

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Derrick Pouliot and forward Beau Bennett again have been ruled out against the New York Rangers for Game 5 of the their Eastern Conference First Round series at Madison Square Garden on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, ROOT, MSG).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 3-1.

Pouliot, who sustained an undisclosed injury in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators on April 7, will miss his sixth straight game. Bennett, who sustained an upper-body injury in a 4-3 victory in Game 2 of the series, will miss his third straight game. Each participated in the morning skate at Madison Square Garden, and Pouliot even took a few shifts on the second power-play unit.

"There is no change in the lineup," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "The injured players on our roster aren't available, so it's that type of situation right now with our team. I'm quite comfortable looking at the last game (a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 4) that we just need to repeat that type of game."

Johnston provided no recovery timetable for the injured players.

The Penguins have rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs once before, against the Washington Capitals in a 1992 Patrick Division Semifinal. Doing it this year would be a repeat of what the Rangers did to the Penguins in their Eastern Conference Second Round series last spring, when New York won the series in seven games after trailing Pittsburgh 3-1.

"We're down but certainly going to fight and we have to play desperate and really have that jump," Penguins forward Brandon Sutter said. "We saw firsthand [last year] that anything can happen in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong side of it. So we have to change that fate and get on the right side of it. We definitely owe them that one."

Center Evgeni Malkin was the first player on the ice at the morning skate and one of the last players to return to the locker room. Malkin has no points and a minus-1 rating in the series. Including the regular season, Malkin hasn't scored a goal in 14 straight games.

"He's on the ice first and practicing with energy and he's right there in breaking out. And breaking out isn't necessarily, as everybody says, he's got to score," Johnston said. "It's creating chances and getting those opportunities. It's breaking free from a check and getting to that open space. He's feeling pretty good today."

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was asked if the pressure to score has affected him or Malkin. Crosby, who will be playing in his 100th career playoff game, has two goals and three points in the series.

"The pressure doesn't change regardless of the situation," Crosby said. "Playoff time you put that added pressure on yourself and I'm sure he does too. You want to lead by example and you want to play your best when the team needs it most. You always put that responsibility on your shoulders."

Here are the projected lineups:


Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist

Blake Comeau - Evgeni Malkin - David Perron

Scott Wilson - Brandon Sutter - Steve Downie

Nick Spaling - Maxim Lapierre - Daniel Winnik

Paul Martin - Ben Lovejoy

Rob Scuderi - Ian Cole

Brian Dumoulin - Taylor Chorney

Marc-Andre Fleury

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Craig Adams

Injured: Beau Bennett (upper body), Kris Letang (concussion), Christian Ehrhoff (upper body), Derrick Pouliot (upper body), Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), Olli Maatta (upper body)


Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - J.T. Miller

Carl Hagelin - Kevin Hayes - Martin St. Louis

Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle - Matt Hunwick

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: James Sheppard, Chris Summers

Injured: Kevin Klein (arm)

Status report: Johnston reported no lineup changes from Game 4.

Who's hot: Fleury has a 2.24 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in four games in the series, and has allowed two goals or fewer in three of the four games.


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