The Pens hold a 2-1 lead in their First Round series against the New York Rangers. Game 4 is tonight at Madison Square Garden. The Pens had a morning skate at 11:30 a.m. at MSG. Here’s what you need to know from the day.
The Pens have a chance to take a stranglehold on the series with a win tonight.
“Everybody knows this is a big game,” Olli Maatta said. “It’s either 3-1 or 2-2. It’s a big difference. We just have to play the same way. We have to battle hard tonight. They’re going to come back and push hard so we have to be ready for it.”
MORNING SKATE INFO
The Pens held an optional morning skate. Those who did not take part were forwards Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Patric Hornqvist, Chris Kunitz, Eric Fehr, Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen, defenseman Kris Letang and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Matt Murray will start tonight for the Pens. He made 16 saves to earn his first career playoff win in his first career playoff game in Game 3.
Fleury, who has not been skating, remains day-to-day.
“He is going through a process. When he’s ready to play, we’ll be sure to let you guys know,” head coach Mike Sullivan said.
Defenseman Olli Maatta missed the final nine games of the regular season with a lower-body injury. He returned to the lineup and has played the first three games of the postseason against the Rangers.
But Maatta wasn’t happy with his performance in Games 1 and 2. In Game 2 he finished with a -2 and took a poor angle on forward Derick Brassard that led to the Rangers’ second goal.
Maatta responded with a strong performance in Game 3 as the Pens, as a team, limited the Rangers to just 17 shots on goal in the entire game.
“I felt better (in Game 3),” Maatta said. “I had to bounce back. I didn’t play well the first two games. … (The injury) feels good now.”
Despite Maatta’s struggles early on, the coaching staff wanted him to play through the adversity. And they were pleased with his effort.
“I thought he was real solid,” Sullivan said. “We knew he would respond the right way. He’s a great kid. He has a lot of pride. He cares about winning. He’s a real good hockey player.”
THIS N’ AT
Trevor Daley on handling the Rangers' physicality: “They’re going to hit every chance they get. We expect it. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. We have to recognize that they’re coming.”
Ben Lovejoy on the Andrew Shaw suspension: “Players 5, 10 years ago didn’t realize how hateful that term is. It’s pretty much been eradicated from our locker room. I remember a time when it was commonplace. Guys are becoming more educated. You can’t use that term.”
Tanner Glass on the Pens’ D: “It was their neutral zone play. They were funneling us into areas where there is pressure, a defenseman in your face and another guy taking an angle on you. If we’re trying to come through that neutral zone with possession when they’re putting you into places like that, it makes for a tough night.”
Viktor Stalberg on Carl Hagelin: “He’s one of the fastest guys in the NHL so we have to keep an eye on him.”