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Rangers try to take 2-0 series lead vs. Penguins

by Wes Crosby


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


Big story: The New York Rangers have lost all four series they've played against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they can take a two-game lead against their Metropolitan Division rival by winning at Consol Energy Center. Pittsburgh is trailing in a series for the first time in these playoffs after the Rangers' 3-2 overtime victory in Game 1.

Team Scope:

Rangers: New York is in the midst of playing five games in seven days, but has yet to show the effects. The Rangers began and ended Game 1 by outplaying Pittsburgh. They seemed exhausted only during the second period, when they were outshot 15-4.

The Rangers played Games 6 and 7 against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and Wednesday, then beat the Penguins in the series-opener on Friday. After playing Sunday, the teams fly to New York for Game 3 on Monday.

"We're fine," forward Benoit Pouliot said. "It's not like we're traveling so far away. We played seven games and the seventh one was a grueling match, but I think most of us have been through it. It's the NHL."

Although the Rangers were the better team 5-on-5, their power play is a growing concern. New York finished 0-for-4 Friday and has failed to score on its past 25 attempts.

Penguins: Pittsburgh has struggled to play a complete game this postseason. The Penguins have faced four first-period deficits and surrendered two first-period leads. This trend continued in Game 1 when they trailed by two goals entering the first intermission.

Forward Sidney Crosby, who has yet to score a goal this postseason, had his least-effective game. He committed one turnover and was on the ice for each of the Rangers' three goals.

"Through six games, now seven games in the playoffs, sometimes I think the questions are 'Why [hasn't Crosby] scored?' and 'Do you need to score?'" Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "He's had scoring chances. He had, in the first round, 27 scoring chances on even strength. He had a point a game through the first six games.

"It's no more than about winning for us and for Sid. We did that in the first round and last night we did not. We're down 1-0 against that team and those questions are going to come."

Who's hot: After a slow start to the postseason, Rangers forward Derick Brassard has a point in each of his past two games. Brassard scored the game-winning goal, his first goal of the playoffs, in overtime of Game 1. ... Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen has a point in six of seven playoff games and extended his scoring streak to five games with an assist Friday. Jokinen's six points trail forward Evgeni Malkin and defensemen Paul Martin and Matt Niskanen for the team lead.

Injury report: Rangers forward Chris Kreider (hand), who has been out since March 24, wore a non-contact jersey during the morning skate Friday. He continues to take shots during practice. ... Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik (undisclosed) participated in an optional practice Saturday. He left the ice several minutes before any other player and has not officially rejoined the team. Forward Brian Gibbons (undisclosed) practiced but his status for Game 2 is uncertain.

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