After a Game 3 that saw major momentum swings, the Rangers and Penguins are set to clash in the fourth game of their opening round playoff series tonight. After being held off the scoreboard for the first two games, Pittsburgh’s depth forwards exploded for four goals in the first period of Saturday night’s affair, chasing Igor Shesterkin from the game. The Blueshirts rallied back from a 4-1 deficit to tie things up at 4-4 going into the final period, but another goal from a Pittsburgh depth forward followed by a pair of late empty netters led to the 7-4 final score.
Both teams can find reasons for optimism in terms of trends. For the Penguins, the three previous playoff series between these teams has seen the team that won Game 3 also win Game 4 to earn a 3-1 series lead. For the Rangers, all four games played yesterday were in matchups where one team held a 2-1 series, and all four trailing teams won their games to tie things up at two wins apiece. A Rangers win tonight will rest the series to a best of 3 with New York holding home ice advantage, while a Pittsburgh win will stake them to a commanding 3-1 lead.
Player to Watch: Braden Schneider
Both Schneider and defensive partner Patrik Nemeth played horribly in Game 3. Nemeth handled the puck like it was a live grenade whenever he touched it, and Schneider was out muscled by Brian Boyle and bore 100% responsibility for Pittsburgh’s fourth goal of the game. Whether it was jitters stemming from Schneider’s first road playoff game or whatever it might have been, he’ll have to be better tonight. Keep an eye on him as the Rangers look to tie the series.
Enjoy the game!