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Rangers' Yandle likely to play Game 3 vs. Penguins

by Dan Rosen /

PITTSBURGH -- Despite missing the morning skate Monday because he was sick, New York Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle is expected to play against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round series (7 p.m. ET: NBCSN, CBC, TVA, ROOT, MSG).

The best-of-7 series is tied, 1-1.

"He just wasn't feeling well this morning, he'll be in the lineup tonight," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said of Yandle. "He's taking fluids and should be good to go."

Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein skated with the team for the first time since March 11, when he broke his left arm when blocking a shot from Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin.

Klein is not expected to play in Game 3, but his return to full practice was a positive sign for his availability later in the series against the Penguins.

"It's the first time I've seen him with our team so very happy with that," Vigneault said. "Hopefully he'll respond well."

The Rangers need to respond in Game 3 after the Penguins evened the series with a 4-3 win in Game 2. Though their lineup is expected to remain the same, it's possible they could have some line changes since they showed multiple combinations during line rushes in the morning skate.

There could also be changes to the Rangers power play, which is 2-for-12 in the series, including 1-for-7 in Game 2. The Rangers, who typically use three forwards and two defensemen on the power play, showed a unit that featured four forwards and one defenseman Monday morning.

They had forwards Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Martin St. Louis and Chris Kreider with defenseman Dan Boyle. The other unit had the three-two setup with forwards Rick Nash, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello with defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Matt Hunwick, who was taking Yandle's place.

Brassard's power-play goal at 3:16 of the third period in Game 2 came with four forwards (Brassard, Hayes, Nash and Zuccarello) and one defensemen (Yandle) on the ice. The Rangers generated seven shots on goal during that power play; they had only six shots on goal in their other six power plays.

"In the third period [of Game 2] we were more successful generating what you need to generate on the power play," Vigneault said. "There were a couple changes made to the personnel. We looked at a couple other things today and we'll come up with a plan for tonight."

The other adjustment the Rangers want to make is in how they attack the Penguins.

They feel they weren't able to get the puck deep enough with support to pound on the Penguins' defense in Game 2 because they were trying to be too fine with the puck going through the neutral zone and as a result were guilty of too many turnovers off of passes that got knocked down and pucks that got intercepted.

As a result, the Rangers had only 12 shots on goal at even strength in Game 2. They had 31 shots on goal at even strength in Game 1, when they felt they were more aggressive overall and better at getting pucks in deep and working the Penguins' defense.

"One-hundred percent that was one of our main issues last game," left wing Carl Hagelin said. "There were a lot of times where we maybe tried to make plays in the neutral zone or we chipped it in on our side and we had no one coming over for support…so it was easy for them to break out. You can probably ask any D in this League, it's probably the best feeling when you go back for pucks and there is no one on you. Anyone can play in the NHL at that level."

Here are the projected lineups:


Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - J.T. Miller

Carl Hagelin - Kevin Hayes - Martin St. Louis

Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle - Matt Hunwick

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Chris Summers, James Sheppard

Injured: Kevin Klein (arm)


Chris KunitzSidney CrosbyPatric Hornqvist

Daniel WinnikEvgeni MalkinDavid Perron

Beau BennettBrandon SutterSteve Downie

Nick SpalingMaxim LapierreBlake Comeau

Paul MartinBen Lovejoy

Rob ScuderiIan Cole

Brian DumoulinTaylor Chorney

Marc-Andre Fleury

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Craig Adams, Scott Wilson, Scott Harrington

Injured: Kris Letang (concussion), Christian Ehrhoff (upper body), Derrick Pouliot (upper body), Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), Olli Maatta (upper body)

Status report: If Yandle is unable to play because of his illness, Summers or Klein will replace him. Summers would be the likely option because Klein has not taken any contact in practice. … New York has split the first two games in six of its past 10 playoff series; it has won four of the previous five series in which the series was 1-1 after two games. … The Rangers were an NHL-best 28-11-2 on the road during the regular season. They were 1-0-1 at Consol Energy Center.

Who's hot: McDonagh scored the game-winning goal in Game 1 and had an assist on Stepan's goal in Game 2. He has 16 points in his past 13 playoff games dating back to last season. He has 10 points in his past 10 games dating back to March 29. … Brassard scored in each of the first two games of the series.


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