The New York Rangers began the Eastern Conference semifinals with a victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Two games later, the team is looking to avoid a major deficit in their second-round series.
New York’s offense has become non-existent in the last two contests. After stealing an overtime win in the opener, Games Two and Three saw the Penguins shut out the Rangers, while adding five goals of their own.
Led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins have one of the best offenses in the league. They are not known for their defense. They failed to record a shutout in their first seven games of the 2014 NHL playoffs, allowing at least three goals in six of those contests. It’s the first time since 1937 that New York failed to score in consecutive postseason games.
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been criticized for his playoff performances in the last few years. His save percentage dropped from the regular season to the playoffs in last five postseasons. In 2014, however, his numbers have improved. He has a 92.5 save percentage in the playoffs, and stopped 96.4 percent of the shots that have come his way from New York players.
The Rangers’ struggles on the power play continue to haunt them. They have been unsuccessful in their last 34 opportunities, putting them at 7.1 percent in the postseason.
Crosby finally got his first goal of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs with a score in Game Three. Henrik Lundqvist has done what he can, stopping 92.9 of the Penguins’ shots, but that won’t mean much if New York can’t put the puck in the net. Martin St. Louis, who the Rangers traded for before the deadline, hasn’t scored in the last seven games
It's been a struggle," Rangers center Mats Zuccarello said. "We can't let it get to our heads. It's not going to get any easier."
Player To Watch: Marc-Andre Fleury
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Place: Madison Square Garden
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network
Online Stream: NBC Sports Extra Live
Point Spread: Rangers-110, Penguins-110
Prediction: Pittsburgh 2, New York 1