3 Keys: Ranger in Penguin, Game 3 of the East First Round

(2M) Rangers on (3M) Penguin

7pm ET; TNT, CBC, SN, TVAS, ATTSN-PT, MSG

Best-of-7 series built 1-1

The New York Rangers will try to win their ice return from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference First Round when they play Game 3 at the PPG Paints Arena on Saturday.

The Penguins won Game 1 at Madison Square Garden 4-3 in a three-point extension on Tuesday. New York responded with a 5-2 win at Garden Thursday despite the series.

“Of course with some tests, get ready,” said Rangers coach Gerard Gallant. “It’s a very good series of 5 now. They have ice at home. We need to get ready to play some good games tonight. We played two very good games in this house this season to help you.”

The Rangers were 1-1-0 at Pittsburgh all the time, losing 1-0 on Feb. 26 with a 3-2 win on March 29. Igor Shesterkin was a goalie in every game, conceding three goals in 50 shots.

Shesterkin conceded six goals in 124 appearances in the first two games of the series, good for a .952 percent save.

“Obviously he’s a little scared of the team, I’m just as confident as we were at home,” the Rangers defender said. Adam Fox he said. “Try a rainstorm. When the crowd gets in, the teams run a little bit sometimes, but they get close enough, they play hard.”

Penguins will also have players Louis Domingue in the net Tristan Jarry (lower body injury) and Casey DeSmith (core muscle surgery) does not exist.

Domingue saved 17 in helping DeSmith win Game 1 and conceded five goals in 40 appearances in Game 2, his first NHL debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“She’s excited about the opportunity,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. “I think he’s played well so far. He’s a reliable kid and I think it helps him a lot in this situation.”

When the best 7 matches are tied, the Game 3 winner has a record of 228-110 (67.5 percent), plus a 4-3 record in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are the three keys to Game 3:

1. What is special?

The Rangers are 2-for-5 in strong play and have a short-term goal. They caught Penguins 1-for-6 in their strong game, a 5-on-3 goal in Game 1.

Sullivan said after Game 2 that if there was a single unit to support the Penguins and special teams, especially penalty kicks, it was the third in the regular season at 84.4 percent.

“When our punishment comes right, we win the race, we get 200 times, we lower the ice, we make it harder,” Sullivan said. “One of the problems we’ve had so far with the Rangers is that we haven’t won a lot of games, we don’t have a lot of controls. As a result, they have had a huge amount. Time zone and they are a good team.”

2. Monitor 87

Sidney Crosby has been a driving force in his line and forward Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust. He scored five of Pittsburgh’s six goals and scored 11 points, 41 assists and 62 assists.

New York’s ability to reduce the line, especially when the Penguin is not making other lines, could be a variation of Game 3.

“You’re talking about one of the best lines in the league and they are currently playing well,” Gallant said. “The line has been hard to catch and direct. We are doing everything we can. There is no good match for those guys.”

3. Second scoring

Evgeni MalkinThe goal of a three-time extension in Game 1 is just one of six Penguin goals in a series scored by a player who has not been in their top line.

Pittsburgh have struggled to find second goals beyond Crosby, Guentzel, Rust and Malkin for nearly four months.

The four players have scored 88 goals since Jan. 11, plus five in two playoff games; the rest added 75 goals, none in the first round.

“When you score well it enhances your chances of winning the game,” said Sullivan. “We will continue to work hard to help our boys get a chance to score, but there has definitely been a chance to beat our entire team here in the first two games.”

Rangers Projected Lineup

Chris KreiderMika ZibanejadFrank Vatrano

Artemi PanarinRyan StromeAndrew Copp

Alexis Lafreniere – Filip ChitilKaapo Kako

Dryden HuntKevin RooneyRyan Reaves

By Andre MillerJacob Trouba

Justin Braun – Adam Fox

Patrick NemethBraden Schneider

Igor Shesterkin

Alexander Georgiev

Posted: Libor Hajek, Greg McKegg, Julien Gauthier, Jonny Brodzinski

Outstanding: Tyler Motte (upper body), Barclay Goodrow (thin), Ryan Lindgren (thin)

Penguins Projected Lineup

Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust

Danton Heinen Evgeni Malkin – Kasperi Kapanen

Brock McGinnJeff CarterEvan Rodrigues

Brian BoyleTeddy BluegerDrew O’Connor

Mike MathesonKris Letang

Marcus PetterssonJohn Marino

Mark FriedmanChad Ruhwedel

Louis Domingue

Alex D’Orio

Posted: Nathan Beaulieu

Outstanding: Tristan Jarry (thin), Rickard Rakell (unknown), Casey DeSmith (central muscle surgery),, Jason Zucker (thin), Brian Dumoulin (thin)

status report

Lindgren, the defender, will be the only player in the game after playing in Game 2 on Thursday. … Goodrow, a forward player, is expected to be on the sidelines. … Jarry skateboard alone for the first time before choosing a morning skateboard. The goalie is daily. … DeSmith, a player, will be out of the remaining Stanley Cup Playoffs after undergoing mid-surgery on Friday. … Zucker will be a game-changer for the second straight game. If he plays, the player could join Malkin on Pittsburgh’s second line.

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