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Penguins notebook: Gibbons takes Glass' spot in lineup

| Sunday, May 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Brian Gibbons drives past the Rangers' Derick Brassard during the third period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.

It was Brian Gibbons in, Tanner Glass out in Game 2 for the Penguins.

After missing the previous five games with an injury he suffered early in Game 2 of the first-round series against Columbus, winger Gibbons returned to the Penguins' lineup Sunday.

Gibbons, who acknowledged being medically cleared for game action Saturday, was not part of line rushes for the morning skate. But he began Game 2 as the fourth-line left wing with center Marcel Goc and winger Craig Adams.

The speedy Gibbons, who also was used extensively to kill penalties, had five goals and 12 assists in 41 NHL games this season.

Glass has not been a healthy scratch during any regular-season game of his two-year Penguins tenure.

The only regular-season games he missed were 15 this season from Nov. 23-Dec. 27 because of a broken hand.

Glass was scratched, however, for 10 of the Penguins' final 11 playoff games last season, and he was a healthy scratch Sunday night. He has one point in 36 career playoff games. Gibbons had two goals during the first period of Game 2 against the Blue Jackets.

Glass took part of the morning skate and was on a line with Goc and Adams. There was no apparent indication he was injured.

Back-to-back of no concern

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma concedes there are certain aspects of strategy on the first day of back-to-back games that are different — during the regular season.

In the playoffs, that's another story.

“I don't think you put blinders on to the situation,” Bylsma said Sunday morning. “But I don't think you can coach ahead, either.”

That was particularly true for Bylsma on Sunday because his Penguins entered Game 2 of their second-round series against the New York Rangers trailing by a game.

Game 3 is Monday at Madison Square Garden, accounting for the first time the Penguins will play postseason games on consecutive days since Games 1 and 2 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final in Detroit.

“I don't think you can say we're going to limit everyone's ice time to 15 minutes (Sunday) just because we play (Monday), regardless of the score or situation,” Bylsma said.

“Do you make decisions to limit ice time based on the fact the game is going a certain way? Yeah, you make those decisions. But you can't look ahead and say, ‘This is a six-period hockey game.'

“This is Game 2, and we'll worry only about (it) and work on the next one after we get on the plane and both go to New York.”

Soft serve

New York defenseman Anton Stralman said he's become a better player than he was prior to signing as a free agent with the Rangers in 2011. Stralman said former New York coach John Tortorella toughened him up and made him a better player in his own end.

“I read a comment that I was soft as ice cream in the defensive end,” Stralman said, referring to his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets. “That might (have been) true back then.”

Stralman has become a regular member of what is considered one of the NHL's best defense corps. He has appeared in all but one of the Rangers' regular-season games the past two seasons.

Stralman was an aggregate minus-40 over parts of four seasons before joining the Rangers. He's been a plus-32 since.

Around the boards

Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik (undisclosed injury) did not participate in the morning practice but skated prior to it Sunday. ... Rangers forward Chris Kreider (hand injury) missed his 18th consecutive game dating to the regular season. Coach Alain Vigneault agreed with an assessment that Kreider is “looking better” and did not rule his return during this series. Kreider, a former first-round pick who turned 23 last week, had 17 goals in 66 games this season. ... Other than Gibbons taking Glass' spot, both teams used the same lineups they used for Game 1. ... With a second-period assist, Evgeni Malkin tied Kevin Stevens for fourth place on the Penguins career playoff points list with 106.

Chris Adamski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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