After losses this season, Alain Vigneault often has tweaked his lineup, and the Rangers coach hinted at that possibility for Game 4 against the Penguins at Madison Square Garden Thursday. The Penguins lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.
There was only an optional morning skate, with some key players not participating, including Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan McDonagh, but Vigneault said they were fine.
But he noted that lineup decisions upfront and on defense were “pending” and that Dan Girardi, who skated but will miss his third playoff game, remains day-to-day.
Right-handed defensemen Dylan McIlrath and Raphael Diaz are healthy, and one possibly could step in for veteran Dan Boyle, 39, who has one assist in the three games.
Goalie Matt Murray, who made 16 saves in his playoff debut Tuesday, will play his second consecutive game, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan confirmed. He also said that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, recovering from concussion symptoms, had not skated the past two days.
By the numbers
The Rangers have seven goals in three games; the Penguins have 10.
On the power play, the Blueshirts are 1 for 12; Pittsburgh is 4 for 13.
The Penguins had 31 shots on goal in each of the three games; the Rangers have a total of 82 after a season-low 17 on Tuesday.
Waiting on times
The starting time for Saturday’s Game 5 in Pittsburgh has not been set, but is expected to be announced later Thursday night.
If Chicago wins Thursday night, forcing a Game 6 against St. Louis on Saturday, that would air in primetime and the Rangers-Penguins game is expected to be at 3 p.m. If Chicago is eliminated, the Rangers-Penguins game would be televised in primetime.