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Rangers aim to continue playoff run vs. Penguins

by Mike G. Morreale /


TV: NBC, CBC, TVA Sports

New York leads best-of-7 series 1-0

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers will shoot for a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers, who are 22-6 in series when winning Game 1 on home ice, will be aiming for a fifth straight victory against the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They trailed the Penguins 3-1 in a second-round series last year but won three straight to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

"We've gotta be ready right off the hop for a team that is going to be definitely forechecking better and better with the puck in their own end," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "When we have the puck, we have to make good decisions with it so it doesn't give them the opportunity to get the momentum on their side."

Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (cheek) practiced without any extra protection on his helmet; he is considered probable for Game 2. Girardi missed the final 9:29 of Game 1 on Thursday after getting hit in the right side of his face by a deflected shot.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said defenseman Kevin Klein skated on his own prior to practice and is day-to-day. Klein has missed 17 games with a broken left arm.

The Rangers again did their part to limit Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in a 2-1 victory in Game 1. Crosby and Malkin combined for three shots, but the Penguins took five penalties in the game, including four in the first period.

"You have to know to take a hit, a punch, or a hit with the stick at times because we know what the referees will call," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "Key players couldn't get on the ice, so that was a key factor. Our game started to come as we played them 5-on-5. We need more of that in Game 2."

In last year's second-round defeat to the Rangers, Crosby was limited to one goal and three points. Malkin had three goals and seven points.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 24 saves, has won six of his past seven regular-season and playoff games. He has a 1.85 goals-against average and .937 save percentage over that span.

"You start with one and you try to feel good about yourself and your performance and when you win you definitely feel a lot better," Lundqvist said. "But it's just one game."

Penguins fourth-line forward Blake Comeau said Pittsburgh needs to continue to work hard in front of Lundqvist to have success.

"These games with the Rangers are going to be low-scoring and tight-checking, so when we're around their net we need to take away Lundqvist's eyes and then we'll be able to put up goals," Comeau said.


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