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Stralman to see time on Rangers power play

by Adam Kimelman

PITTSBURGH -- It's usually the team trailing in a series that feels a need to play desperate hockey. But the New York Rangers are feeling their own level of desperation going into Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 1-0 and have a chance to take a 2-0 series lead back to New York. That's despite a power play that has been in a deep sleep for much of the postseason.

"It's a great opportunity," defenseman Anton Stralman said. "I think everybody is looking to this game and really feeling good about our last game, and hopefully we can carry that over to [Game 2]. It's a big game. If we can get out of here with a 2-0 lead that would be great."

Stralman could have a say in how the Rangers do in Game 2. He was shifted onto the point on the second power-play unit in place of John Moore at the morning skate.

The Rangers were 0-for-4 on the power play in Game 1 against the Penguins, running their string of failed power plays to 25, dating back to Game 2 of their first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Anton obviously does a good job for us on breakouts and... he's able to find open lanes in the offensive zone," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "He's a good player. He's been very consistent for us this year defensively, he's had some looks offensively in different games. He's a good player for us."

Stralman does not have a power-play goal in three seasons with the Rangers, but had five in two seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets prior to his arrival in New York.

"It's about getting a shot through and hit the net, create some chances," Stralman said. "We're struggling a little bit right now. We just need to keep to the basics and really just focus on taking a lot of shots and getting them on net."

Though Stralman would love to be the player that ends the Rangers' run of futility on the power play, he knows he only needs to do his job.

"I'm not putting any extra pressure on myself," he said. "I still need to play good defensively and do the job there. If the power play works out, it works out. If not, than not. It's fine."

Considering the Rangers are 4-2 in the six games since they last scored a power-play goal, New York has proven it can do just fine by playing 5-on-5.

The focus for the players was to repeat the positives from Game 1.

"We played really well last game," goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "We want to continue building on that. Our focus is on preparing for this game and going out and playing as good as you can. Hopefully, we get the result we want."

That result would be a trip home with a 2-0 series lead.

"It's a great opportunity we put ourselves in," forward Rick Nash said. "We need a big night [in Game 2]. We know how important it is to head back home with the two wins."

Here are the projected lineups for Game 2:


Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Martin St. Louis

Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Daniel Carcillo

Brian Boyle - Dominic Moore - Derek Dorsett

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

John Moore - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Jesper Fast, Ryan Haggerty, J.T. Miller, Raphael Diaz, Justin Falk

Injured: Chris Kreider (hand)


Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Lee Stempniak

Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal

Beau Bennett - Brandon Sutter - Joe Vitale

Tanner Glass - Marcel Goc - Craig Adams

Paul Martin - Kris Letang

Olli Maatta - Matt Niskanen

Rob Scuderi - Robert Bortuzzo

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Jayson Megna, Taylor Pyatt, Deryk Engelland, Chris Conner

Injured: Brooks Orpik (undisclosed), Brian Gibbons (undisclosed), Pascal Dupuis (knee), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)


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