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Marc-Andre Fleury won’t play in Game 3 of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ series against the New York Rangers, as he continues to work back from his concussion. Of that much, we’re sure.
Who does get the nod is still a mystery hours before the Pens hit the ice at MSG, tied 1-1 with the Blueshirts.
Goalie Jeff Zatkoff, who started Games 1 and 2, was the first one off the ice at practice on Tuesday. He’s stopped 59 of 65 shots for a .908 save percentage – looking stellar in his surprise Game 1 start, but coming back down to earth in Game 2.
He took part in practice with goalies Matt Murray, working back from an injury, Tristan Jarry, called up from the AHL in the injury crunch.
Murray probably would have gotten the Game 1 start were he healthy, having gone 9-2-1 in 13 starts in the regular season with a .930 save percentage. The blue-chip prospect only returned to practice on Monday, however, so the safe money is still on Zatkoff for Game 3, even if Murray got work in the starter’s net during practice.
No matter who starts, the Penguins can’t afford another lull like they had in Game 2, when the Rangers scored three times in 4:14 in the second period,
“I think we had maybe a six- or seven-minute lull there in the second period where they took advantage of us and got us on a few seam passes and a couple breaks,” said Zatkoff.
And no matter who starts, the question remains: Can the Penguins beat Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers without Fleury?
As for the Rangers, they could get their best defenseman back for Game 3. From Rangers Rants:
On Monday, after watching Ryan McDonagh practice (well), coach Alain Vigneault said it was “doubtful” the Rangers captain would play in tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round playoff series against the Penguins here at Madison Square Garden. But, after McDonagh skated this morning with the Rangers “extras,” Vigneault upgraded McDonagh’s status to something “higher than doubtful.”
McDonagh, who blocked a shot with his right hand on April 4 at Columbus and missed the last three regular season games and the first two playoff games, will be re-examined by doctors this afternoon. Vigneault said a lineup decision would be made after and based upon that examination.
Needless to say, that would be an enormous boost for the Rangers after getting a split in Pittsburgh and returning to NYC.
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