Skip to Main Content
game preview

3 Keys: Penguins at Rangers, Game 2 of Eastern First Round

Pittsburgh seeks better start, New York looks to contain Crosby, get even

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

(3M) Penguins at (2M) Rangers

7 p.m. ET; TNT, CBC, SN, TVAS, MSG, ATTSN-PT

Pittsburgh leads best-of-7 series 1-0

The New York Rangers will try to even the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday after losing 4-3 in triple overtime in Game 1 on Tuesday.

"It's one game, you get over it and you move on," Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. "I don't feel like we got dominated. We played this team well all year and we know what we've got and we know we have to be better."

The Rangers are hoping to start Game 2 similar to how they opened Game 1, when they were physical and fast in the first 23-plus minutes, pushing the Penguins back, creating scoring chances and dominating on the forecheck to take a 2-0 lead.

But the Penguins responded, came back to tie it and also erased the Rangers 3-2 lead late in the second period. They outshot the Rangers 25-8 in the second period and 83-68 for the game.

"I'm not going to change our style of play," Gallant said. "It was six periods of hockey. Were they better in the second half of the game? Yes. But were we dominant in the first half? Yes. I'm not going to make big adjustments. I'm just going to try to get us to be more consistent."

Louis Domingue be in goal for the Penguins after making 17 saves in relief of Casey DeSmith midway through the second overtime Tuesday. DeSmith sustained a lower-body injury and is day to day. He will not dress.

Tristan Jarry, the Penguins' No. 1 goalie, is also unavailable because of a lower-body injury.

Pittsburgh recalled Alex D'Orio from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. D'Orio will be Domingue's backup.

"He has a little swagger to him," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of Domingue. "I think that serves him well. He has a confidence about him. He believes in his game. I think you can see it in his body language and I think it's contagious with our group."

Teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-7 NHL playoff series hold an all-time record of 337-52 (86.6 percent), including an 84-20 (80.8 percent) record when starting the series on the road.

Here are 3 keys for Game 2:

1. Contain Crosby

Penguins center Sidney Crosby was arguably the best skater on the ice in Game 1, setting up each of forward Jake Guentzel's goals in the second period, finishing with seven shots on goal, 12 shot attempts and going 27-for-48 (56.3 percent) on face-offs.

His linemates, Guentzel and Bryan Rust, followed. Guentzel scored two goals on eight shots. Rust had a power-play goal and two assists along with a game-high nine shots. They seemed to have the puck all night.

"They have a pretty smart group of players on that line, so you have to be mentally smart, be in the right positions," Rangers defenseman Adam Fox said. "Being physical with them, moving your feet and trying to stay in front of them is big."

2. Better start for Pittsburgh

The Penguins have to match the Rangers aggressive early attack, because they'd rather not have to bank on coming back from down two goals again.

"Their fans are loud and excited and I think they feed off that," Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson said. "We did a good job as the game went on of handling that and hopefully in the sense of learning from that we can do that a little earlier tonight."

3. Domingue's domain

Domingue knows he's up against Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin, who made 79 saves in Game 1.

Now it's a question of whether Domingue, a No. 3 goalie, is up to the task in his first career start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Louis understands that it's a hockey game, it's the same game he plays all the time," Sullivan said. "We talk a lot with our guys about staying in the moment and just focusing on the task at hand."

Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Bryan Rust

Jason Zucker -- Evgeni Malkin -- Kasperi Kapanen

Danton Heinen -- Jeff Carter -- Brock McGinn

Brian Boyle -- Teddy Blueger -- Evan Rodrigues

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Mike Matheson -- Chad Ruhwedel

Marcus Pettersson -- John Marino

Louis Domingue

Alex D'Orio

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Drew O'Connor

Injured: Tristan Jarry (lower body), Rickard Rakell (undisclosed), Casey DeSmith (lower body), Nathan Beaulieu (lower body)

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Frank Vatrano

Artemi Panarin -- Ryan Strome -- Andrew Copp

Alexis Lafreniere -- Filip Chytil -- Kaapo Kakko

Barclay Goodrow -- Kevin Rooney -- Ryan Reaves

Ryan Lindgren -- Adam Fox

K'Andre Miller -- Jacob Trouba

Patrik Nemeth -- Braden Schneider

Igor Shesterkin

Alexandar Georgiev

Scratched: Libor Hajek, Greg McKegg, Julien Gauthier, Justin Braun, Dryden Hunt, Jonny Brodzinski

Injured: Tyler Motte (upper body)

Status report

D'Orio was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. … Zucker is a game-time decision after practicing the past two days. He hasn't played since April 26 because of a lower-body injury. … Rakell, a forward, is out after he was injured during Game 1. … Lindgren will be a game-time decision with a lower-body injury sustained in Game 1. ... Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said there could be other lineup changes because a few players are "banged up a little bit."

View More