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Rangers hope day of rest will help them even series

by Tal Pinchevsky


(Pittsburgh leads best-of-7 series 2-1)


Big story: New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault inserted defenseman Raphael Diaz and forwards J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast into the lineup for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although Pittsburgh won 2-0 to take the series lead, the Rangers outshot Pittsburgh 35-15, and Vigneault hinted Tuesday he could stick with the same lineup in Game 4.

He also expects the off-day to re-energize a team that played five games in seven days.

"Now we're going into a normal schedule where we're playing every other night," Vigneault said Tuesday. "We're behind by one game; our most important game is tomorrow."

Team Scope:

Penguins: Pittsburgh's performance in Game 3 wasn't nearly as sharp as the complete two-way effort in the Penguins' 3-0 victory in Game 2 on Sunday. Though two of their stars, captain Sidney Crosby and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, came through in Game 3, the Penguins know they'll need to be better if they hope to take a 3-1 lead in the series.

Heading into Game 4 at Madison Square Garden, the Penguins are looking for a more balanced attack.

"I think at the end of the day, when we look at our team, it's pretty well built from the forwards to the goalies," defenseman Kris Letang said Tuesday. "It's all guys who want to want to win for each other. I think that's how we're built and I think that's how we answer every game. There's guys stepping up every night. It's not always the same guys. I think collectively, we know if we don't play as a five-man unit on the ice, we're not going to do anything good."

Rangers: Vigneault and his players sounded confident following a frustrating Game 3 in which they believed they deserved a better fate. But there is still no getting around the topic of New York's ineffective power play. The Rangers have failed to score with the man advantage on 34 straight attempts, a skid that skid dates to Game 2 of their opening-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers. They are 0-for-13 against the Penguins.

With Diaz manning one point, New York did manage 10 shots on its five power plays, almost matching Pittsburgh's shot total for the entire game. Vigneault hopes a day off will help.

"I understand we didn't score and we didn't finish on those opportunities, but I believe with this day off here our execution might be better," Vigneault said. "I'm going in there with a lot of confidence and I'm sure our players feel the same way."

Who's hot: Fleury has gone 120 straight minutes without allowing a goal, having stopped 57 straight shots. Forward Jussi Jokinen has four goals and seven points in a seven-game point streak. Forward Chris Kunitz has seven points in his past seven games. … Rangers forward Rick Nash hasn't scored in the playoffs but leads the NHL with 41 shots. Forward Benoit Pouliot has three points in his past four games.

Injury report: Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik remains out with an undisclosed injury, and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clot) and forwards Pascal Dupuis (knee) and Chris Connor (hand) will not play. … Rangers forward Chris Kreider (hand) hasn't played since March 24 but was medically cleared. He is considered day-to-day.


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