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Fleury, Penguins blank Rangers to deadlock 2nd-round series

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, May 4, 2014, 10:40 p.m.
 

Marc-Andre Fleury had just finished off his seventh shutout in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but that accomplishment really didn't do much for him on Sunday night.

“Oh, gosh, we were so fast, right?” Fleury said after the Penguins' 3-0 win over the New York Rangers at Consol Energy Center.

“I kept watching our guys and it was, like, ‘Wow, we're flying!”

Fleury finished with 22 saves, and defenseman Kris Letang, winger Jussi Jokinen and center Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins. All of which was nice, but the first home playoff game taken in by majority co-owner Ron Burkle's mother resonated with Fleury because …

“We played a total game,” Fleury said. “We were fast and good on defense and had the puck a lot. We looked like we should.”

The Rangers have their split of Games 1 and 2 and home-ice advantage.

However, with Game 3 scheduled for Monday night at Madison Square Garden, the Penguins believe they made good on a pre-series objective of making the Rangers' challenging recent schedule a factor in the best-of-seven series.

Game 3 will mark the Rangers' sixth game in nine days.

The Penguins will play for only the fourth time over the same span. They have not played as they did in Game 2 for quite some time, players said.

They finished with 35 hits, but 30 were delivered in the opening 40 minutes. The Penguins had averaged 29 hits in seven prior playoff contests.

Punishing the Rangers was an objective before the series, winger Tanner Glass said.

Glass, though, was a healthy scratch for Game 2. Winger Brian Gibbons replaced him — an indication of the role coach Dan Bylsma wanted speed to play in the plan to wear down the Rangers.

“His speed was a factor,” Bylsma said of Gibbons. “I don't think he adds a physical element against the other team, but he does it with his speed.”

The Penguins dropped Game 1 in overtime, mostly because they won few of what Bylsma refers to as “50-50 pucks” — the ones up for grabs.

“It's always important,” winger Craig Adams said. “We want to put pucks behind them and make them work. If we can get there first, we'll get there first. If not, we want to be physical.

“We didn't do that enough in Game 1. I thought we did a much better job (in Game 2) of making them work and playing in their end.”

More than role players such as Adams and Gibbons made the Rangers, especially their defensemen, work hard to merely get the puck.

Captain Sidney Crosby and Malkin continuously pushed the pace and drove to the net, forcing the Rangers to over-pursue and often leaving wingers Chris Kunitz and James Neal in position for good looks upon New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

He made 32 saves, about a dozen of the spectacular variety.

Lundqvist robbed Neal from point-blank range after a kick-and-slide pass from center Brandon Sutter. Kunitz was stoned on a breakaway.

There were others, including six saves on Crosby, who has not scored a goal in 13 games dating back to the regular season.

Crosby looked a lot like his presumptive regular-season MVP self in Game 2, though. He whipped backhanded shots, challenged defensemen and changed speeds.

He played with many linemates, including Malkin and Gibbons — as Bylsma tinkered often and used his home-ice last change to get fresh skaters out against the Rangers.

Winning Game 2 was the primary goal, but winning it the right way was equally important, defenseman Olli Maatta said.

“The big thing wasn't skating, it was compete-level,” Maatta said. “You want to be the first guy touching the puck. It's all about that. We did a great job, but we have a game (Monday) and we have to keep going with that.”

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Jussi Jokinen (36) and James Neal (18) tangle with the Rangers' Carl Hagelin and Daniel Carillo (13) during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Jussi Jokinen (36) and James Neal (18) tangle with the Rangers' Carl Hagelin and Daniel Carillo (13) during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Penguins' goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save on the Rangers' Benoit Pouliot during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Penguins' goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save on the Rangers' Benoit Pouliot during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin celebrates with Kris Letang after Letang's goal against the Rangers during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin celebrates with Kris Letang after Letang's goal against the Rangers during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Penguins' goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save as the Rangers' Martin St. Louis leaps to avoid the puck during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Penguins' goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save as the Rangers' Martin St. Louis leaps to avoid the puck during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Sidney Crosby climbs over the boards next to head coach Dan Bylsma during the third period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Rangers Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Sidney Crosby climbs over the boards next to head coach Dan Bylsma during the third period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Rangers Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (left) celebrates with Kris Letang after Letangs' second-period goal against the Rangers during Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (left) celebrates with Kris Letang after Letangs' second-period goal against the Rangers during Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Penguins' goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury takes a puck off his mask from the Rangers' Brian Boyle during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Penguins' goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury takes a puck off his mask from the Rangers' Brian Boyle during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' James Neal upends the Rangers' Marc Staal during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' James Neal upends the Rangers' Marc Staal during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save on the Rangers' Derick Brassard during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save on the Rangers' Derick Brassard during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Sidney Crosby works around the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh during the third period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Sidney Crosby works around the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh during the third period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist gives up a goal to the Penguins' Kris Letang during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist gives up a goal to the Penguins' Kris Letang during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Penguins' goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save on the Rangers' Daniel Carcillo during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Penguins' goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save on the Rangers' Daniel Carcillo during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Chris Kuntiz watches as Kris Letang's second-period shot beats Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundquist during Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Chris Kuntiz watches as Kris Letang's second-period shot beats Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundquist during Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - A shot by the Penguins' Jussi Lokinen gets in the goal over Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist during the third period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A shot by the Penguins' Jussi Lokinen gets in the goal over Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist during the third period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins celebrate Jussi Jokinen's third-period goal in front of the Rangers' Marc Staal during Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins celebrate Jussi Jokinen's third-period goal in front of the Rangers' Marc Staal during Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Rangers' Martin St. Louis hits the post with a shot next to Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Rangers' Martin St. Louis hits the post with a shot next to Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a second-period save against the Rangers during Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a second-period save against the Rangers during Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Kris Letang checks the Rangers' Daniel Carcilllo during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Kris Letang checks the Rangers' Daniel Carcilllo during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Sidney Crosby puts a move on the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Sidney Crosby puts a move on the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Sidney Crosby works against Rangers' Ryan McDonagh during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Sidney Crosby works against Rangers' Ryan McDonagh during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Sidney Crosby drives past the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Sidney Crosby drives past the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh during the second period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin fights to get to the rebound off Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundquist during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin fights to get to the rebound off Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundquist during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - The Rangers' Ryan McDonagh defends on the Penguins' Sidney Crosby as he fights to deflect a shot past goaltender Henrik Lundquist during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>The Rangers' Ryan McDonagh defends on the Penguins' Sidney Crosby as he fights to deflect a shot past goaltender Henrik Lundquist during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Rangers' Carl Hagelin and Daniel Carcillo rough up the Penguins' James Neal during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Rangers' Carl Hagelin and Daniel Carcillo rough up the Penguins' James Neal during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist makes a save behind the the Penguins' Beau Bennett during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist makes a save behind the the Penguins' Beau Bennett during the first period of Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.
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