National Hockey League
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      ***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
                                Monday, April 20
                              (All times Eastern)
 
 NEW YORK RANGERS (1-1) AT PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (1-1), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins managed to tie their series
 against the New York Rangers thanks in large part to the play of captain
 Sidney Crosby.
 
 Crosby will try to lead the Pens to a 2-1 lead over the heavily-favored
 Presidents' Trophy champions when the rival clubs meet on Monday for Game 3 in
 Pittsburgh.
 
 The Penguins earned a split in the first two games of this best-of-seven set
 at Madison Square Garden, losing a close 2-1 decision in Game 1 despite being
 thoroughly outplayed. Pittsburgh then held on for a 4-3 win in the second
 meeting in the Big Apple on Saturday, using a pair of Crosby goals to defeat
 the reigning Eastern Conference champs and tie the series at 1-1.
 
 Crosby picked up his first two goals of the postseason to lead the way in Game
 2. The star centerman halted a five-game goal-scoring drought in the playoffs,
 hitting the net for the first time in the postseason since Game 3 of last
 spring's seven-game loss to the Rangers in the conference semifinals. New York
 won that series after falling behind three games to one.
 
 Prior to Saturday, Crosby only had one goal in his previous 19 playoff games
 He also recorded his first multi-goal effort in the postseason since a hat
 trick to pace a 4-3 victory over Ottawa in Game 2 of an Eastern Conference
 semifinal on May 17, 2013
 
 "The best players in the NHL are going to get some looks and he got some looks
 [Saturday]," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
 
 Chris Kunitz, who was reunited with Crosby to form an effective line for the
 Pens, chipped in a goal and two assists. Brandon Sutter added a goal and a
 helper for Pittsburgh, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves for the win.
 
 "It would have been tough for us to go down two games," Fleury said. "We
 played a full 60-minute game and hung in there. It is a nice feeling to get
 the win."
 
 Pittsburgh went 2-for-4 on the power play and killed off six of New York's
 seven chances with the man advantage. The Pens are 10-for-12 on the penalty
 kill in this series.
 
 "Absolutely too many penalties," Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole said. "I mean,
 I took two of them. Without a doubt too many penalties, but a heck of a job
 getting it done."
 
 Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard and Rick Nash tallied for the Rangers, while
 Henrik Lundqvist stopped just 18 shots.
 
 "I think it is on us. It's totally not good enough in a playoff game," Nash
 said. "We gotta make it our goal to get inside and make them make great
 saves."
 
 Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein is expected to miss a 19th straight game
 tonight. Klein is considered day-to-day and hasn't played since suffering a
 broken arm while blocking a shot by Washington's Alex Ovechkin on March 11.
 
 Pittsburgh played without defensemen Christian Ehrhoff, Kris Letang and
 Derrick Pouliot on Saturday. Ehrhoff is questionable for tonight with a head
 injury, while Letang's concussion could keep him out for the entire playoffs.
 
 Pouliot is suffering from an upper-body injury but he did participate in the
 morning skate on Monday and could return for Game 3. He has missed four
 straight tilts dating back to the regular season.
 
 After storming back to defeat Pittsburgh in last season's playoffs, the
 Rangers posted a 3-0-1 record in four meetings during the 2014-15 season
 series. New York outscored the Pens by a 16-8 margin during the regular
 season.
 
 New York's seven-game series' win over the Pens last season marked the club's
 first-ever victory over Pittsburgh in the postseason. The Rangers had lost the
 previous four encounters before charging back to defeat Pittsburgh a year ago.
 
 Game 4 of this series is scheduled for Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
 
 ST. LOUIS BLUES (1-1) AT MINNESOTA WILD (1-1), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - Vladimir Tarasenko and the St. Louis Blues will try to
 carry some momentum into Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals when
 they visit the Minnesota Wild on Monday night.
 
 The Blues hosted the first two tests of this best-of-seven series, losing Game
 1 by a 4-2 count before rebounding for Saturday's 4-1 decision at Scottrade
 Center.
 
 Tarasenko led the way in the Game 2 triumph, posting his first career playoff
 hat trick. The 23-year-old Russian led St. Louis with 37 goals and 73 points
 during the regular season and he now has seven goals and one assist over nine
 career playoff games.
 
 Patrik Berglund also had a goal on Saturday while Alex Steen and Kevin
 Shattenkirk each added two assists for the Blues. Jake Allen stopped 24 shots
 for the victory.
 
 Tarasenko opened the scoring with 6:42 left in the first period. He made it
 2-0 with a power-play tally at the 18:01 mark of the first and completed the
 hat trick with an empty-netter in the final minute of regulation.
 
 It was the first playoff hat trick by a St. Louis player since April 12, 2004,
 when Mike Sillinger had three goals in a 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks
 in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
 
 "Our top players needed to have a big impact on our hockey team today and we
 saw that on the ice," said St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock. "We were very
 engaged with all aspects of play tonight."
 
 The Wild are hoping to bounce back tonight at Xcel Energy Center, where they
 posted a 22-13-6 record in 2014-15. Minnesota did lose its final three home
 tests of the regular season.
 
 Marco Scandella scored his club's goal in Game 2, while Devan Dubnyk allowed
 three on 26 shots in the loss.
 
 "We'll find a way to get better because we are much more capable than what we
 showed on the ice tonight," said Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo. "The outcome
 of the game was frustrating to all of us."
 
 Dubnyk still hasn't allowed more than three goals in a game since coming over
 from Arizona in a trade on Jan. 14. This series marks the 28-year-old's first
 foray into the NHL playoffs.
 
 The Blues and Wild split four meetings in the regular season, with Minnesota
 going 2-1-1 thanks to a shootout loss back in November. This series marks the
 first playoff encounter between the clubs.
 
 Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday in St. Paul.
 
 ANAHEIM DUCKS (1-1) AT WINNIPEG JETS (10-1), 9 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets have failed to hold leads in the third
 period while losing both Games 1 and 2 against the Anaheim Ducks. The Jets
 hope the first NHL playoff game in Winnipeg in nearly two decades can help get
 them on the board in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
 
 Winnipeg will try to avoid falling into a 0-3 series hole when they host the
 Ducks on Monday in what expects to be an emotional night at MTS Centre.
 
 The Jets are in the postseason for the first time since 2007, when they were
 still known as the Atlanta Thrashers. That trip marked the club's only
 appearance in the playoffs and it ended with a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the
 New York Rangers in the opening round.
 
 Winnipeg will try once again for the franchise's first playoff win tonight as
 the city hosts its first playoff game since April 28, 1996. The original Jets
 dropped a 4-1 decision to Detroit that night at Winnipeg Arena in the final
 tilt of a six-game series' loss. The franchise relocated to Phoenix the
 following season and became known as the Coyotes.
 
 The crowd expects to be raucous tonight at MTS Centre. Fans will celebrate
 Winnipeg's return to the postseason by partaking in the traditional
 "Whiteout," which will turn the building into a sea of white T-shirts.
 
 "We've waited about two decades for this, 19 years to be exact, to celebrate
 our Jets in the playoffs," Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman told NHL.com last week.
 "The excitement's pretty thick in the air. You can really feel it across the
 city."
 
 The Jets find themselves down 2-0 to top-seeded Anaheim after blowing third-
 period leads in the first two tilts of this best-of-seven series. Winnipeg led
 2-1 after 40 minutes before losing the opener 4-2 then dropped Saturday's test
 at the Honda Center by a 2-1 count.
 
 The Ducks were down 1-0 heading into the third period before Patrick Maroon's
 power-play goal knotted the score with 9:17 left in regulation. The game
 appeared to be headed to overtime, but Jakob Silfverberg tallied with 21
 seconds remaining in the third to deliver the win and a 2-0 lead for Anaheim.
 
 Ryan Kesler shuttled the puck into the left-wing corner where Silfverberg,
 fresh from a battle with Jets forward Bryan Little, scooped it up, moved out
 in front and scored on a hard shot to the far side.
 
 Frederik Andersen backed his offense with 28 saves and owns a .946 save
 percentage in this series.
 
 The Ducks, meanwhile, hold a 5-0 scoring advantage in the third period over
 the first two games.
 
 "We didn't quit," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "I think both games have
 been extremely even right down to the wire. Both teams are battling as hard as
 they can. Consequently you get one-goal games that come down to the last
 second."
 
 Adam Pardy lit the lamp for the Jets, while Ondrej Pavelec stopped 37 pucks in
 defeat. Pardy's marker was his first career playoff goal and first of any kind
 since Jan. 26, 2011 for Calgary.
 
 "Well we get on a plane to fly home and deal with the game the next morning
 and get back at it," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "By the time that puck
 drops in Winnipeg we would have put this one behind us."
 
 Jets center Mathieu Perreault played Saturday after missing Game 1 with a
 lower-body injury. He posted an assist in the Game 2 loss.
 
 This is the first playoff meeting between the Ducks and the current Jets.
 Anaheim swept the three-game season series in 2014-15, winning twice in
 Winnipeg prior to a shootout win at home on Jan. 11.
 
 
 
 04/20 11:00:47 ET