The Rangers defeated Pittsburgh 2-1 in Game 3 to take a matching 2-1 series lead. Goals from Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider staked the Rangers to a two-goal lead heading into the third period, which turned out to be enough of a cushion to withstand Pittsburgh’s onslaught in the final 12 or so minutes.
The first period was a low event affair, especially so for Pittsburgh, who did not register their first shot on goal until over 15 minutes had passed (and even that first shot came from center ice). The Rangers didn’t generate a ton offensively, either, but they grabbed an early lead 8:43 in when Keith Yandle threaded a beautiful pass to a streaking Carl Hagelin, who broke in and wound up for a slap shot that beat Marc-Andre Fleury’s five-hole. If you missed Yandle’s pass, check it out; it was quite lovely:
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Yesterday Alex took a look at Blake Comeau, who, for less than half the price of one Tanner Glass, provides Pittsburgh with a formidable secondary scoring option. Now we’ll turn to another bargain bin signing in Daniel Winnik, who came to Pittsburgh prior to the trade deadline via the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Signed to a one-year, $1.3 million dollar deal late in the summer, Winnik turned out to be one of a select few Maple Leafs to meet or exceed expectations this season. Winnik, who is not known for his offensive abilities (as evidenced by his career 6.2 shooting percentage), was tied for the third-most 5v5 points on Toronto at the time of the trade, with 22. With Toronto limping to the finish line, Winnik’s finished first among all Maple Leafs with 1.76 Points/60. For reference, that’s an almost identical scoring rate to what Benoit Pouliot gave the Rangers a season ago.
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Odds are you’re familiar with Sidney Crosby’s or Evgeni Malkin’s game. Just as is the case any time the Rangers go up against Pittsburgh, they’ll have their hands full trying to contain two generational talents on the same team. But they are not all the Rangers will have to contend with, as Pittsburgh, for as much as their depth is criticized, still has weapons outside of the big two.
Welcome to RangerUnlimited’s “Better Know a Penguin” series, an attempt to familiarize yourself with some of Pittsburgh’s less-heralded contributors. Over the next few days leading up until the start of the playoffs, I’ll try to bring you perhaps a half-dozen or so player spotlights in preparation for Game 1 on Thursday night. First up is Patric Hornqvist…
Martin St. Louis returned to the lineup last night on a line with Kevin Hayes and Carl Hagelin. As he deserved to be, the future Hall of Famer was placed right back into an advantageous offensive environment, pushing Jesper Fast down to fourth-line duties. For the better part of the 2015 calendar year, Fast has been the one on Hayes’ right wing, which along with Hagelin, has produced positive results to the tune of a 53.9 Corsi%.
Photo Credit: Paul J. Bereswill
News of Martin St. Louis’ knee injury necessitates some significant changes to the Rangers’ lineup, both in the forward lines and the power-play units. According to Andrew Gross, Alain Vigneault showed off these forward lines at this afternoon’s practice:
- Kreider – Stepan – Nash
- Hayes – Brassard – Zuccarello
- Hagelin – Sheppard – Miller
- Glass – Moore – Fast
Every single line is different from what the Rangers started with on Sunday evening against Florida, so let’s take them one by one:
After two days off that saw the Rangers maintain their lead in the Eastern Conference, they’ll have as great a chance as ever to tack on another two points against Buffalo.
Three weeks and one day after making his NHL debut at the First Niagara Center, Mackenzie Skapski returns for his second appearance. Skapski stopped 24 of 25 shots the first time around en route to a 3-1 victory. According to Mike Harrington, this will be the 34th time in 68 games that Buffalo has drawn a team’s back-up goalie. This is a perfect opportunity to get Skapski some more action while giving Cam Talbot a much needed rest before tomorrow’s game.