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In order for the New York Rangers to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the second time in three years, the club is going to have to do something its never done before: beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs. The Rangers hope to strike first in this fifth postseason meeting between the franchises, as they visit Pittsburgh for Fridays Game 1 battle at CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins are 4-0 all-time in postseason series against the Blueshirts and boast a 16-4 record over those four playoff encounters. The only time New York was able to post more than one win in a series against the Pens was in the 1992 Division Finals, when Pittsburgh downed the Rangers in six games en route to its second straight Stanley Cup title. The most recent playoff encounter was in the 2008 conference semifinals when Pittsburgh ousted the Rangers in five games. New York, which made the conference finals in 2012, is in the second round for the third straight season after beating Philadelphia in seven games in the opening round. Home-ice advantage came in handy for the Blueshirts, as they claimed a 2-1 win at Madison Square Garden in the final test against the Flyers, improving to 6-0 all-time in Game 7s on home ice. In this round, however, the Rangers will have to prove they can win on the road against the Metropolitan Division champion Penguins. "Were battle-tested and ready for the next series," said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault. "Philly was a real tough opponent, and you have to give them credit, it was a great series, but we know if you look on paper Pittsburgh is probably one of the best teams in the league. They were (13) points ahead of us in the regular season, so were going to have our hands full." The Pens and Rangers split four meetings during the 2013-14 campaign, with both teams recording 2-1-1 records. New York had lost five straight in Pittsburgh before ending that road slide with a 4-3 shootout win on Feb. 7. Game 2 is scheduled for Sunday in the Steel City, while New York gets to host the third meeting on Monday. Fatigue could be an issue for the Rangers at the start of this series, as New York will have played five games in a span of seven days through Game 3 of this set. The Pens, on the other hand, had three full days of rest heading into Game 1. Pittsburgh is in the second round after beating Columbus in six games during the conference quarterfinals. The Pens are after a second straight trip to the East finals after getting swept by Boston in the penultimate playoff round last spring. A big topic of conversation in the middle of the first round was Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkins lack of goal-scoring. But, after Malkin turned in a hat trick to help Pittsburgh clinch the series in Game 6, that likely puts an end to the discussion for now. Malkin ended with seven points on three goals and four assists. Crosby failed to score a goal in six games, but with six assists to his credit its difficult to say he was unproductive. Still, Crosby, the odds-on favorite to win this seasons Hart Trophy, hasnt recorded a goal in his last 11 playoff games and if he goes long without scoring one in this series it could become an issue once again. Crosby and Chris Kunitz led Pittsburgh with six points apiece during the season series with New York, with the captain notching a goal and five assists and Kunitz delivering three goals and three helpers. Malkin only played in two of the four meetings and had a goal and an assist. When things go wrong for Pittsburgh, nobody gets criticized more than No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Last spring, Fleury was replaced by Tomas Vokoun as the clubs starting goaltender after Game 4 of the opening round against the New York Islanders and did not start another game in the playoffs. Fleury struggled at times during the conference quarterfinals against Columbus, but not enough for head coach Dan Bylsma to make the switch to current backup Jeff Zatkoff. For the most part, Fleury was solid against the Blue Jackets in Round 1. He ended the series with a .908 save percentage and 2.81 goals against average. The 29-year-old is 49-36 with a .903 save percentage and .273 GAA throughout his playoff career. The biggest advantage New York has over the Penguins could be in net, where Rangers backstop Henrik Lundqvist is as steady as they come. The 32-year-old Swede posted a .919 save percentage and 2.11 GAA in the seven games against Philadelphia Lundqvist is a big reason the Rangers are so difficult to beat in a long series. With its win over Philly, the Blueshirts became the first team in NHL history to win a Game 7 in the first round in three consecutive postseasons. In five career Game 7s, Lundqvist is 4-1 with a 1.00 GAA, a .963 save percentage and has allowed two goals or fewer in all five games. The Rangers threw a balanced scoring attack at Philadelphia, with eight players tied for the team lead with two goals apiece and 17 skaters in all registered at least one point. Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards, both members of Tampa Bays 2004 Stanley Cup-winning team, led the way with six points on two goals and four assists, while fellow forwards Carl Hagelin, Benoit Pouliot and Mats Zuccarello each had two goals and two assists. Even physical forward Daniel Carcillo joined the fun, as the ex-Flyer scored two goals against his former team, including the first marker in Wednesdays 2-1 Game 7 victory. If there is one guy who needs to get going for New York its the clubs top offensive weapon Rick Nash. The big, talented winger led the team with 26 goals during the regular season, but he failed to score against the Flyers while notching four assists. Over 23 career playoff games, Nash only has managed two goals while recording 10 assists. Zuccarello posted two goals and four assists to lead the Rangers in scoring against the Pens during the season series. Both Fleury and Lundqvist started all four games in net. Pittsburghs No. 1 netminder had a 3.12 GAA in the season series, while Lundqvist was slightly better with a 2.88 GAA. Patrick Sandoval Angels Jersey . Miikka Kiprusoff had just announced his retirement after a decade-long run in Calgary and it would be up to Berra and Ramo to fill the void. Adalberto Mejia Jersey . Edmonton opened the season with 14 straight victories before falling Friday night 10-8 to the host Colorado Mammoth in National Lacrosse League action. https://www.cheapangels.com/2663j-kole- ... ngels.html .Y. - The New York Rangers have reached a one-year contract extension with goalie Cam Talbot, keeping Henrik Lundqvists backup away from unrestricted free agency. Bobby Grich Jersey . -- San Francisco 49ers offensive co-ordinator Greg Roman is a finalist to replace Joe Paterno at Penn State, his agent said Monday. Mike Witt Jersey . The rest of the team was already on the field stretching before batting practice while Puig was getting dressed in the clubhouse. He had been slated to start in right field for the afternoon game against the San Francisco Giants, who beat the Dodgers 8-4. CUIABA, Brazil -- Blundering Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was bailed out by teammate Alexander Kerzhakov in a 1-1 draw with South Korea in the World Cup on Tuesday that exposed both teams deficiencies. Akinfeev had already looked suspect in dealing with long-range shots before spilling Lee Keun-hos speculative effort into his own net in the 68th minute, gifting South Korea the lead at the Arena Pantanal. Kerzhakov, though, came to Akinfeevs rescue by turning in a shot from close range six minutes later -- just three minutes after coming on as a substitute -- to earn Russia a point from a poor-quality Group H match. Akinfeev stayed on the ground inside his own net, head in his hands, after making his error, clearly embarrassed after dropping what was a routine save from a shot from about 30 yards. He was consoled by a couple of teammates, who patted him on the back. "It was a kids mistake," Afinkeev said. "The goalkeeper of the national team shouldnt make mistakes like this one." Russia coach Fabio Capello has remained loyal to Akinfeev this season despite some patchy form, and stood by him again. "He is a great goalkeeper," Capello said. "There can be mistakes, of course -- some can get a penalty wrong ... and its logical for a goalkeeper to make a mistake as well. "We were able to make up for that and we can accept a mistake by a great keeper like Akinfeev." The explosive six-minute spell that featured both goals was not in keeping with the rest of a fairly mundane game characterized by slow build-up play, poor passing and wayward finishing. A point leaves both teams behind Belgium, which beat Algeria 2-1 earlier Tuesday, but the group appears wide open based on the opening two fixtures. Having lost four of its last five games heading to Brazil, the South Koreans came into their eighth straight World Cup with concerns over their flimsy defence andd a lack of goal threat.dddddddddddd A 4-0 thrashing by Ghana in a warm-up in Miami last week highlighted those worrying deficiencies perfectly. There was no hiding their toothless attack here, either, with the experienced Park Chu-young starting as the lone striker but justifying fears that he has lost his way after three ineffective years with Arsenal in the English Premier League. He was substituted in the 56th and his replacement, Lee, scored South Koreas goal. Russia, led by former England coach Fabio Capello, was just as lifeless in attack -- at least until Kerzhakov and Alan Dzagoev came off the bench -- and too functional in midfield. A dire first half was marked by the large contingent of Brazilian fans in the crowd doing slow hand clapping but South Korea coach Hong Myung-bo was satisfied by what he saw. "In such a tournament, the first match is the most difficult," Hong, who captained the nation to the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup, said through a translator. "There is a lot of pressure on it so I thought the players played very well." Save for a shot by Son Heung-min that flew over the bar in the 39th when the forward was free at the edge of the area, there was barely a chance created in the first half. Capello stood with his hands on his hips in the technical area throughout the first 45 minutes, looking distinctly unimpressed. There was a major improvement after the break, although it required the mistake by Akinfeev to really get the game going. However, South Korea couldnt hold on and when Dzagoevs cross-shot was spilled out by goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong and defender Hwang Seok-hos clearance went straight at Andrei Yeshchenko, Kerzhakov was on hand to bundle home from inside the six-yard box. "I thanked them for their reaction," said Capello, who turns 68 on Wednesday. "It was the greatest birthday present I could receive." ' ' '


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