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PENGUINS vs RANGERS SERIES PREVIEW

on May 01, 2014 11:00 AM

PITTSBURGH vs. NEW YORK RANGERS

First round: The Penguins beat Columbus in six games, and the Rangers beat Philadelphia in seven games.

Season series: Tied 2-2. The Penguins won 5-2 at home on Jan. 3 and at New York 4-3 (SO) on Dec. 8, and the Rangers won 4-3 (SO) at Pittsburgh on Feb. 7 and 5-1 at home on Nov. 6.

Storyline: The Metropolitan-champion Penguins won their division by the largest margin in the NHL, earning 13 more points than the second-place Rangers. But Pittsburgh lost the series opener against New York 5-1 and was outscored 13-12 over four games. Pittsburgh might have rest on its side, having had three full days off after eliminating the Blue Jackets. The Penguins will play host to Game 1 on Friday night, just two days after the Rangers’ grueling series against the Flyers ended.

Pittsburgh’s key player: Marc-Andre Fleury. The goaltender gave up 18 goals against Columbus, which scored three goals three times and four goals twice in the series. If Fleury does not fare better against the Rangers, he will likely be blamed in Pittsburgh for getting outplayed by New York’s Henrik Lundqvist. He has not helped the Penguins win a game beyond the second round since helping them win the 2009 Stanley Cup.

New York’s key player: Brad Richards. The center scored twice and had four assists in the opening round against the Flyers after averaging a career-low 0.62 points per game during the regular season. If Richards can keep producing, he’ll give the Rangers a shot at advancing to the conference finals as he did two years ago with a team-high 15 points in the postseason.

FIRST ROUND

Pittsburgh 4, Columbus 2

Wednesday, April 16: Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 3

Saturday, April 19: Blue Jackets 4, Penguins 3, 2OT

Monday, April 21: Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 3

Wednesday, April 23: Blue Jackets 4, Penguins 3, OT

Saturday, April 26: Penguins 3, Blue Jackets 1

Monday, April 28: Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 3

New York 4, Philadelphia 3

Thursday, April 17: Rangers 4, Flyers 1

Sunday, April 20: Flyers 4, Rangers 2

Tuesday, April 22: Rangers 4, Flyers 1

Friday, April 25: Flyers 2, Rangers 1

Sunday, April 27: Rangers 4, Philadelphia 2

Tuesday, April 29: Flyers 5, Rangers 2

Wednesday, April 30: Rangers 2, Flyers 1

SECOND ROUND SCHEDULE

x-if necessary

Friday: Rangers at Penguins , 7 p.m.

Sunday: Rangers at Penguins , 7:30 p.m.

Monday: Penguins at Rangers, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Penguins at Rangers, 7:30 p.m.

x-Friday, May 9: Rangers at Penguins , TBD

x-Sunday, May 11: Penguins at Rangers, TBD

x-Tuesday, May 13: Rangers at Penguins , TBD

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