A Rangers win in Game 5 on Friday night would end their first-round series against the Penguins and provide a few days of rest and practice before the Metropolitan Division Final against either the Islanders or Capitals, who play Game 6 of their series on Saturday.
The Penguins, down 3-1 in games, need a victory at Madison Square Garden to extend this series.
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1. Scoring on the power-play. The Rangers, who are tied with Chicago for 11th out of the 16 playoff teams at 11.8 percent, are due. In Game 4, the Rangers (2-for-17 overall) tried more of a spread look against a penalty kill ranked third in the NHL this season. The Penguins are sixth, and a goal with the man-advantage could be the difference in a close game.
2. Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein will not dress. Six weeks after his left forearm was broken by Alex Ovechkin's shot, the bone hasn't fully healed, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said Friday morning. But Keith Yandle and Mats Zuccarello, who skipped practice Thursday for "maintenance" days, will be in the lineup.
3. In a bit of a surprise, the Penguins, who have scored seven goals in four games, also are deploying the same lineup. Said Brandon Sutter: "We owe them one from last year [when the Blueshirts won three straight to take the series]. Let's get it back to Pittsburgh." Said coach Mike Johnston: "We need to get in on their defense, hit sticks, create a loose puck, and then play from there."
4. Henrik Lundqvist (1.74 GAA, .926 save percentage) and Marc-Andre Fleury (2.24, .921) are in the nets. Lundqvist, like the Rangers, wants to end the series here and not travel to Pittsburgh for a 3 p.m. Game 6 on Sunday. "I think both coaches would say they've gotten everything they can out of both goalies," said Johnston.
5. More contributions from Rick Nash. He has a goal and three assists so far. "He's an elite player that obviously needs to get on the scoresheet, but at the same time I need him to defend well and he obviously does that for us."
6. Weather the surges. "They're going to throw everything they have at us," said Dan Girardi. "They have a lot of guys who like to get to the front of the net. If we can eliminate those point shots, it'll help out a lot. Our desperation has to be more than theirs. We can't take anything for granted."