GAME 1 PRE-GAME BUZZ
— Mike Sullivan officially called Marc Andre Fleury a “game time decision” during his pre-game media session. Yesterday Fleury was “day-to-day” in Sullivan terms.
Fully participating in the morning skate, while also in the starting goaltenders net and the first goaltender off, Fleury is expected to start tonight in Game One and the Rangers also know it.
“Unless someone tells us otherwise, he’s [Marc Andre Fleury] the goaltender we’re preparing for tonight,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault.
The signs were there from Tuesday’s practice of Fleury likely starting tonight when Tristan Jarry was nothing more than a spectator in practice and then was not even brought out on the ice for Wednesday’s skate.
Pittsburgh winning three of the four meetings between the clubs this season and finishing with a 14-2 run, had Vigneault talking the Penguins up.
“They’re probably been the best team in the league during the second half of this season,” Vigneault said. “We have a big challenge in front of us.”
The Rangers saw the Penguins three times in March and made little adjustments in countering their speed. For Pittsburgh there’s no reason to change anything. The Penguins will continue to try to play their game and turn puck battles in foot races which benefit the Penguins.
Pittsburgh feels they can overwhelm the Rangers with their speed, while New York feels they have the personnel up front to wear the Penguins down below the dots.
The area to watch will be in the neutral zone when it comes to any adjustments or not from the Rangers. The way Vigneault talked today, it appears that not only Pittsburgh’s speed through the neutral zone caught the Rangers off-guard, but how well the Penguins now clog up the neutral zone defensively stands out to him.
“They’re are clogging up the neutral zone a lot more than they have in the past,” Vigneault said. “They’re got numbers back there and a lot of times five guys skating backwards. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"