May 5, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT
Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:
• Tonight, the Rangers will become the first team since 1989 to play five playoff games in seven nights. In the 1989 playoffs, the first five games of all eight first-round, best-of-seven matchups were scheduled to be played in seven nights. Two of those series never got to the fifth game in seven nights, however, as Montreal swept Hartford, and Pittsburgh swept the N.Y. Rangers in their first-ever postseason meeting.
• For the fourth time this season, the Penguins will be playing the same opponent on back-to-back nights. On each of the previous three occasions, they either won both or lost both of the games. This will be the Rangers’ second time playing the same opponent on back-to-back nights, both times in the playoffs.
• Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 22 Rangers shots on goal for his 50th career postseason win and seventh career postseason shutout. The latter number established a new franchise record, surpassing the mark that he shared with two-time Stanley Cup winner Tom Barrasso (1991 & 1992) on the franchise’s all-time postseason shutout list.
• Rangers winger Rick Nash (336) and Penguins center Sidney Crosby (274) have combined for 610 career regular-season goals, but their struggles in the playoffs continued in Game 2. Both star players went without a goal, extending lengthy goalless streaks dating back to the 2013 playoffs. (Note: The shifts, time on ice and shots on goal tallies begin immediately following their last playoff goals.)
• The Rangers went 0-for-4 on the power play in Game 2, and have now failed on their last 29 opportunities with the man advantage. Even after starting the playoffs 3-for-8, their current rut has dropped them to 3-for-37 (8.1%) for the playoffs, worst among all remaining teams in the playoffs. The Penguins killed off 20 of 27 power-play opportunities (74.1%) in the first round vs. Columbus, but have bumped that figure up to 80.0% by going 8-for-8 in this series.
• The Penguins, who lead all playoff teams with 36.2 shots per game, outshot the Rangers 71-49 in the first two games of this series (36-27 in Game 1, 35-22 in Game 2). For New York, it is a sharp reversal from Round 1, in which they allowed a first-round low 25.6 shots per game, outshooting Philadelphia in five of the seven games and allowing more than 30 shots only once, in Game 3.
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