RANGERS at PENGUINS
TV: NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, ROOT, MSG
Best-of-seven series tied, 1-1
The Pittsburgh Penguins return home for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round on Monday and will try to build on the home-ice advantage they created for themselves by winning Game 2 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden two nights earlier.
The Penguins, who will play three of the next five games at home if the best-of-7 series goes the distance, will have to do something they haven't done yet in the series to give themselves the best chance at taking a 2-1 lead: They have to do a better job of staying out of the penalty box.
Pittsburgh has given New York 12 power plays through two games on penalties that were mostly stick infractions. They've been penalized three times for slashing, two for high sticking, two for hooking and one for cross checking
The Rangers have capitalized on two of them, including defenseman Ryan McDonagh's winning goal in Game 1.
"[The referees] have indicated to both teams that if you're going to use the stick anywhere in the wrist area, the hand area, you're going to come down on a player's hands like that, you're going to be called," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "We have to be a lot better with our sticks. Two got up into the face of the Rangers' players."
The Penguins feel somewhat fortunate to be even in the series because they haven't been burned too often by their own penalties. The Rangers have a 12-5 advantage in power-play opportunities in the series, but the special-teams goals are 2-2.
Pittsburgh's two power-play goals were scored in Game 2 by the second unit. Brandon Sutter had the first one and Chris Kunitz scored the second.
"Maybe they overlooked some factors or things we want to do," Kunitz said. "They're shots on net, they're rebounds, there are guys going around the net. They're [not] pretty passes or big games; it's just timely scoring, finding the rebounds."
The Rangers feel they need to increase their aggressiveness in Game 3. They felt they let the Penguins come at them far too often in Game 2.
"I think they probably had it consistently throughout the game," McDonagh said. "They were a lot quicker on their sticks, moving their feet on loose pucks. [It] translated to them having the puck more. You could see we spent some more time in our zone than we'd like to."
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault left open the possibility that there could be a change to the lineup when he met with reporters in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Forward James Sheppard and defenseman Chris Summers have been healthy scratches for the first two games.
"We're just in the process of evaluating that," Vigneault said.
Vigneault said defenseman Kevin Klein (broken left arm) is out for Game 3, but Klein did join the team on the trip to Pittsburgh. He will miss his 19th consecutive game.
Penguins defensemen Christian Ehrhoff (concussion) and Derrick Pouliot (upper body) remain day-to-day. Neither has played yet in the series, but they've been practicing with the team.