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Instant analysis: Rangers vs. Penguins, Game 2

Forecheck helps New York even series; Zatkoff falters for Pittsburgh

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Goalie Henrik Lundqvist returned to the lineup and held off the Pittsburgh Penguins long enough for the New York Rangers to discover their offense against a third-string goalie.

The Rangers scored three goals against Jeff Zatkoff in a span of 4:14 in the second period, and Lundqvist made 28 saves in a 4-2 win against the Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Consol Energy Center on Saturday that tied the best-of-7 series 1-1.

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm2: Brassard buries go-ahead wrist shot

What we learned: The Rangers can control the pace and the play against the Penguins with a good forecheck that leads to sustained possession. It's impossible for them to do it all the time because the Penguins are too fast and too skilled, especially off the rush, but when the Rangers play a possession game you see the difference it can make. That's what happened in the second period, when they had a 25-14 edge in shot attempts and limited the Penguins' transition game to take a 3-1 lead.

What this means for the Rangers: They got the split any road team wants to start a Stanley Cup Playoff series. Most importantly, they have proof now that Lundqvist's vision is fine after an eye injury caused him to leave Game 1. They also got to Zatkoff, which might rattle his confidence if he is the starter again in Game 3.

What this means for the Penguins: They know the Rangers can be effective when aggressive, so they have to counter that with smarter plays coming out of their defensive zone and by doing what they can to get the puck deep into the offensive zone so they can grind a bit too. On the positive side, they know their power play can and should be a weapon with Evgeni Malkin back in the lineup. That was the one area of concern when he was out with an upper-body injury.

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm2: Lundqvist gets a glove on Rust's shot

Key moment: Lundqvist's glove save on Penguins forward Bryan Rust's breakaway at 15:34 preserved a 2-1 lead. Zuccarello scored 78 seconds later to make it 3-1. Rust stepped out of the penalty box and into a breakaway opportunity with a headman pass from Sidney Crosby. Rust lost the puck for a moment, regained it, but couldn't fool Lundqvist, who knocked down his shot with a low glove save.

Unsung player of the game: Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein was on the ice a lot in Game 2, especially against Penguins center Sidney Crosby whenever possible. Klein was effective in his 23:18 of ice time with two shots, four shot attempts, four blocks and eight hits. He also fought Chris Kunitz at 11:43 of the third period after Kunitz slashed defenseman Marc Staal in the leg. The Rangers weren't burned with Klein in the box. They may have been lucky considering how the Penguins were pressing and how badly they need Klein now. Defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi aren't in the lineup because of injury, and the other two right-handed defenseman are rookie Dylan McIlrath and 39-year-old Dan Boyle, who can't be relied on for too many even-strength minutes anymore. Klein delivered in a big way in Game 2.

What's next: Game 3 is at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; USA, TVA Sports, SN, MSG, ROOT). Will Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) be available? That will be the big question for Pittsburgh because the bloom is off the rose when it comes to Zatkoff. The Rangers are 13-10 at home in the playoffs under Vigneault. They lost their last three games at Madison Square Garden against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final last year.

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