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PHT Morning Skate: Rangers looking for Game 4 rebound

May 7, 2014, 8:37 AM EDT

Chris Kuntz, Henrik Lundqvist AP

The New York Rangers are hoping a day off will do them a world of good.

After a run of playing five games in seven days and falling behind 2-1 in the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a simple day of rest might be the cure for what ails the Broadway Blueshirts.

The Pens are hoping that’s not quite the case as they’re looking to head back home for Game 5 with a 3-1 lead.

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Game 4: New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins [Pittsburgh leads series 2-1] (7:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

One thing the Rangers have to hope for heading into Game 4 is that Sidney Crosby getting the goal-scoring monkey off his back in Game 3 isn’t a sign that there’s more to come. Crosby has had an outstanding playoffs even without scoring, but now that he’s got one it could mean the dam is about to break open.

One change Pens coach Dan Bylsma made that’s benefited the team is having Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Chris Kunitz work together as a line to turn up the pressure on the Rangers defense. At times that line has been dominant for Pittsburgh, and guys like Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi have had to spend a lot of energy to slow them down. That on top of playing a manic schedule has made life hard for New York, but they’ve got their own problems to figure out.

The Rangers power play has been a mess all playoffs long and it’s been costing them against the Penguins. The number of chances they’ve had with the man-advantage have been enough to turn the tide in the series, but instead it’s giving Pittsburgh the chance to seize the day.

If the Rangers are going to even this series up, they’re going to need points from Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis. Those two are the biggest offensive threats they have but don’t have much to show for it this round. Nash in particular could use a goal as he’s yet to score one in these playoffs.

  1. hockey412 - May 7, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    The Pens have been a little more aggressive on the penalty kill that I’ve seen them be in the past (whenever Adams is not on the ice, that is)…I think it’s giving the Rangers some hesitation on what they are willing to attempt to do to get the puck into the zone. Gibbons and Goc have been welcome additions.

    • xdj511 - May 7, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      The Rangers’ power play issues have been the same for over 20 years, since the days of Leetch and Messier. Jagr, Gaborik, it makes no difference. The Rangers like to carry the puck in, get set up, take their time passing the puck around and look for the perfect play. Any aggressive penalty kill will tie them up in knots. At the garden tonight you’ll hear Rangers fans screaming SHOOT THE PUCK within 30 seconds of the first Rangers power play. I think Diaz was a good change last game. He wanted the puck and wasn’t afraid to shoot. They looked much better during the Neal double-minor and ended up hitting the post twice. Hopefully they can convert tonight.

      • jkay1818 - May 7, 2014 at 9:50 AM

        You’re right aside from the leetch and Messier days. When Leetch and Zubov were on the point they were lethal.

        They had spurts during the regular season where they looked excellent on the PP, especially those few months where they were ranked from 7th-12 in the NHL. It worked for the first few games and Berube and Lapierriere figured them out real quick. The pens are using the same strategy where they are standing everyone up at the line.

        The fans in my section and most sections yelling” SHOOOOOOOT” as soon as they touch the puck are the absolute worst. Especially when you can see sitting in the stands there are no shooting lanes, or shots from bad angles. It’s the same story, they shoot, then it gets blocked and bounces out of the zone and the fans go nuts about that too.
        They don’t have a big presence in front of the net like when Graves was here. Nash is a big body but refuses to stay there. MSL would be a nice option bc although small, he is insanely strong and could get dirty in front of the net, even for touch passes. It’s ridiculous already though.

      • drunk4thliners - May 7, 2014 at 10:05 AM

        I agree that there needs to be consistency, but even I was sitting on my couch telling them to shoot and I am a Pens fan! I think Fleury is both fortunate and finding a groove in this series. Maybe since he got past the first round, he’ll continue to work hard. Physically skilled, yes, but he needs to stay mentally tough.

        I saw a bunch of post shots the last couple games all over the playoffs. Guess the iron wants to be heard this year. The more the Pens want to take stupid penalties, the closer the Rangers are to getting off the schneid… along with Nash. Hope the crossbar gets more love from #29.

      • xdj511 - May 7, 2014 at 10:11 AM

        The Rangers couldn’t do worse than to put somebody on the power play whose sole job is to go stand in front of the net and create havoc, a la Avery. Boyle is the biggest body they have so I nominate him.

  2. homerx - May 7, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    AV needs to tell them once st up in the zone no more than 3 passes and then shoot regardless; lane or not. They need to break this horrible streak. 3 passes max, shoot and crash the net.

  3. jkay1818 - May 7, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    in this entire article, no mention that Kreider practiced in full and a very good chance he plays tonight, and if not tonight then Friday.
    He is good on the PP and provides some size in addition to his excellent speed. That would definitely be a huge return for the NYR.

  4. kastout11 - May 7, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Although they did not score, I thought their power play looked pretty good in game 3. I think they will see the back of the net tonight. How many posts did they hit in game 3 on the PP. They are due and will get at least one by Fleury tonight.

  5. podevil - May 7, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Don’t you know that hitting the post is still a miss?

  6. bleedrangerblue - May 7, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Boyle in front nope! Kreider all the way.

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