GAME DAY VIDEOSSidney Crosby Patric Hornqvist Brian Dumoulin --Michelle Crechiolo
GAME DAY REPORT
Celina Pompeani and Sam Kasan discuss Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Penguins and the Rangers. --Michelle Crechiolo
QUOTE 'EM: PIT--Sam Kasan
Mike Johnston confirmed that Taylor Chorney and Brian Dumoulin will be the team's bottom-6 pair of defensemen. Both will be making their career postseason debuts. Christian Ehrhoff and Derrick Pouliot were both ruled out due to injury. --Sam Kasan
Assistant coach Gary Agnew gathers the guys before the optional practice gets underway
Ehrhoff was one of the notable participants in the optional skate
As was Evgeni Malkin
Geno warms up Flower
Shot of the defensemen doing drills
Dumoulin is one of 5 players on the Penguins roster looking to make his NHL playoff debut
As is Scott Harrington
Veteran forward Kunitz
Perron bears down on Fleury
Another view of the same shot
Fleury works on technique with Bennett and goalie coach Bales in the background--Michelle Crechiolo and Sam Kasan
MORNING SKATE INFO
The Pens are holding an optional morning skate here at Madison Square Garden. Crosby, Hornqvist and Martin are among those not on the ice. Taking part are Ehrhoff and Pouliot.--Sam Kasan
QUOTE 'EM: NYR --Sam Kasan
Rick Nash is on the ice for the Rangers morning skate. He missed yesterday's practice with the flu.--Sam Kasan
EHRHOFF RULED OUT FOR GAME 1
Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi, Ian Cole and Ben Lovejoy are all ready to go for Game 1 of the Penguins’ opening-round series against the New York Rangers on Thursday. But it has yet to be determined who will fill the remaining two spots on Pittsburgh’s blue line.
Kris Letang remains out with a concussion and while Christian Ehrhoff skated with the team and took contact for a second straight day on Wednesday, he said after practice he will not play tomorrow night.
“Unfortunately not ready to go for Game 1, but it’s a day-to-day thing and hopefully it keeps progressing in the right direction and I can be with the guys in Game 2,” said Ehrhoff, who missed the last nine regular-season games with an upper-body injury.
Full story here
CROSBY KNOWS WHAT TO EXPECT FROM NYR
Sidney Crosby knows what’s coming.
The New York Rangers – Pittsburgh’s opening-round opponent in the Stanley Cup playoffs – will be keying on shutting down the Penguins captain with tight coverage and physical play.
“I don’t want to change too much, I believe in what I do out there,” said Crosby, who led the NHL with 1.09 points-per-game and finished third in the scoring race with 84 points. “If there are adjustments I have to make, I’ll make them. You just have to be ready to compete.”Full story here
Sam and I were fortunate enough to sit down with Evgeni Malkin, Patric Hornqvist and three of the defensemen -- Taylor Chorney, Brian Dumoulin, and Scott Harrington -- for exclusive PensTV interviews heading into Pittsburgh's First Round series against the Rangers. They all turned out awesome, especially the Geno one. Check them out before Game 1 gets underway...Evgeni Malkin Patric Hornqvist Taylor Chorney, Brian Dumoulin and Scott Harrington --Michelle Crechiolo
Here's a few notes in infograph form from the communications department...--Sam Kasan
SERIES SCOUT ON THE RANGERS
I have everything you need to know about the New York Rangers in the video below. I break down the entire team from the net out, starting with the goaltending, moving to the defense and ending with the forwards. --Michelle Crechiolo
START ME UP
It's a great day for playoff hockey! After clinching their ninth consecutive playoff berth with a 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, the Pens open their First Round series against the New York Rangers tonight at 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
As Sidney Crosby said the other day, "It's definitely a different feeling going in." Because not only did the Pens have to fight until Game 82 to get in when in previous years, they've had a berth locked up weeks before the season ended -- this marks the first time in their last 10 series that the Pens will begin on the road. Before this, the last time that the Pens started a series on the road was six years ago in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings. We all know how that ended.
It wasn't easy getting here, but all that matters now is that the Pens have a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup. Fourteen other teams don't have the opportunity that the Pens now have in front of them. It's certainly going to be an incredible challenge winning four games against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Rangers, but it's a new season. And for Pittsburgh, it starts in a few hours. Let's do this.
Here's a few notes to get you ready for Game 1...
- The Penguins and New York Rangers play Game 1 of the First Round (TV: ROOT SPORTS; Radio 105.9 The X) at Madison Square Garden.
- Last spring the Penguins won two of the three playoff games played between the teams at Madison Square Garden.
- The Penguins are 27-30 all-time in Game 1, including a 7-16 mark on the road.
- The Pittsburgh penalty kill was one of the best units in the league again this season, finishing third in the NHL with an 84.8 percent kill rate. The Penguins’ PK unit has finished in the league’s top five in four of the last five years. No other team has finished in the top five more than twice in that span. Brandon Sutter scored four of the Penguins’ six shorthanded goals, finishing behind only Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli (5 SHG).
- Pittsburgh’s postseason roster includes five players who will be looking to make their NHL playoff debuts tonight or sometime within this series: Taylor Chorney, Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington, Derrick Pouliot, and Scott Wilson.
Stick tap: Pens PR (follow them on Twitter at @PensPRLady and Instagram at @PensPR) --Michelle Crechiolo