PITTSBURGH — Rangers coach Alain Vigneault did not hesitate in his pregame news conference to announce his goaltender for Game 2 against the Penguins Saturday would be Henrik Lundqvist.
Before Vigneault took to the interview room stage, though, his Penguins counterpart was characteristically less forthcoming.
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Asked whether Marc-Andre Fleury would be in goal for the first time since March 31 and Evgeni Malkin would be in the lineup for the first time since March 11, Mike Sullivan said, “Those guys are a game-time decision and you will soon find out.”
He did say he has full faith in goalie Jeff Zatkoff if Fleury can’t go. Zatkoff beat the Rangers, 5-2, in his playoff debut on Wednesday night.
“Regardless of who’s in the lineup on a given night or who isn’t we’re going to play a certain way, and I know that our players believe in one another so that we can go out and get the job done,” Sullivan said. “I think that’s what has allowed us to play through some of the injuries we’ve had over the last three months.”
With rugged young defenseman Dylan McIlrath in the Rangers’ lineup, Sullivan was asked whether his Penguins are equipped to play a “nasty” game if necessary.
“Absolutely,” he said. “The Rangers are going to play the type of game that they think gives them the best chance to win. We’re going to play the type of game that we think gives us the best chance to win. I think this team has had success over the last couple of months because they don’t get caught up in playing somebody else’s game.
“But we’ve been able to keep the focus on our team and playing the type of game we want to play in order to give us the best chance to win.”
Sullivan was sporting a blue suit with a red tie — Rangers colors. Was that some sort of Rangers-related head game by the former Rangers assistant coach?
“That has nothing to do with it,” he said. “My wife picked it out.”