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Penguins aim to take back home-ice advantage

by Wes Crosby


(Best-of-7 series tied 1-1)


Big story: The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins will face each other for the second consecutive night and third time in four days. After splitting the first two games of their Eastern Conference Second Round series, the Rangers will attempt to take advantage of the Madison Square Garden crowd to go up 2-1; the Penguins will try to regain home-ice advantage with a win.

Team Scope:

Penguins: Pittsburgh is coming off of its most complete effort of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Penguins outshot New York 35-22, and forward Sidney Crosby, who led Pittsburgh with six shots, seemed to regain his form despite failing to score a goal for the 13th consecutive playoff game.

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has arguably been Pittsburgh's best player through eight games, and that was the case in Game 2. He earned his seventh postseason shutout with 22 saves Sunday and will attempt to replicate his performance Monday.

"It's the same for both teams. [We'll] just enjoy tonight," Fleury said after Game 2. "We got the win, but we'll be back at it [Monday] morning. [Monday] night will be a big game."

Rangers: New York's special-teams struggles are a growing concern. They were outplayed in each facet in a 3-0 loss in Game 2, when their power-play drought reached 29 chances and their penalty-killing unit surrendered a late goal to Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen that put the game out of reach.

Coach Alain Vigneault added defenseman Anton Stralman to the second power-play unit Sunday and said he will consider further adjustments for Game 3.

"The power play had some looks. It could've given us momentum," Vigneault said. "We didn't finish, and the power play ultimately is my responsibility. I have to find the right trigger points here to make it work, and I'll spend the night trying to figure it out."

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist continues to be reliable. After allowing two goals in Game 1, his 32-save performance kept New York within striking distance Sunday.

Who's hot: Penguins defenseman Kris Letang had a goal and two assists in Game 2, when he played 25:35, his most ice time since December. … Rangers forward Brad Richards leads New York with seven points in the 2014 playoffs and is tied for the team lead with three goals. His third goal gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the first period of Game 1.

Injury report: Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik (undisclosed) skated on his own for about an hour before the Penguins' morning skate Sunday. He did not participate in the skate a day after practicing for the first time since sustaining his injury. … New York forward Chris Kreider (broken hand), who has not played since March 24, continued to skate with a non-contact jersey during the Rangers' morning skate Sunday.

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