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Penguins Seek to Recover in The Garden

Posted by Webster Washington on 4/19/2016 1:47:25 AM

By the second period of Saturday's Game 2 of their playoff series with the New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins were rolling along. They had a 1-0 lead in the series, a 1-0 lead in the game, and were playing well enough to be practically on cruise control. Then the lights went out. In less than half a minute, the Rangers struck twice and seized momentum of the game and the series. Now with the series tied 1-1, the Penguins head for Tuesday's game with hopes of collecting themselves enough to rally in the not-too-friendly confines of Madison Square Garden.

Game 2

The Penguins were controlling the home ice and getting sterling work by goalkeeper Jeff Zatkoff before things went awry. The derailment began when New York's J.T. Miller found Keith Yandle across the goal for a laser shot that tied the game. Just 18 seconds later, Derick Brassard took advantage of a Penguins defensive lapse on a faceoff and went the distance to score. Minutes later Miller hit Mats Zuccarello cross-ice and Zuccarello scored to make it 3-1. At this point Zatkoff was shell shocked, and the Rangers began controlling things. They added another goal early in the third period before the Pens could get back on the board again. New York locked down the neutral zone and got sterling service in goal from Henrik Lundqvist to finish with the 4-2 win.

Game 3

For the Pens to win Tuesday night, they'll have to regain control of blue-line territory and get good goalkeeping. With Zatkoff reeling and the return of star keeper Marc-Andre Fleury still uncertain, the goalie situation is precarious at best. But overall, Pittsburgh is the better team with enough experience to recover. Plus they have a leader back in center Evegni Malkin, who had been missing since suffering a shoulder injury March 11. He still seemed rusty Saturday, but should soon be back to form.

I was looking for oddsmakers and the public to take a cue from Saturday's turnaround and favor New York in their return to home ice for this game. But they didn't, at least by Monday. Nevertheless, I like the Pens to bounce back, and you can take the -111 figure if you like. It is fair, even though I don't think the Pittsburgh goalie situation will be clear until game time. If the New York money pours in and lowers that figure, I'd certainly take it.

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