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Rangers a recognizable second-round opponent

 

 

Against Columbus it was all about determination, desperation and grit, or so it seemed.

Against the Rangers it’ll be about speed.

“They play kind of similar to us,” Beau Bennett observed of the Penguins’ second-round opponent. “They have a lot of smaller forwards with a lot of speed.

“They’re probably not as physical as Columbus but they’re probably one of the faster teams in the league.”

And they play a game with which the Penguins are much more familiar; on this the Penguins seem to be in agreement.

Tanner Glass: “They’re a good team, they play fast. Their transition game is really good, that’s probably the biggest thing. You turn it over against them and they’re coming back at you really quickly.

“They’re a good club, good goaltending, shot-blocking defensemen, a good penalty kill; it’s a good formula for a winning team.”

Matt Niskanen: “The times when they’ve been really good they play a really fast game. They have some speedy guys, they stretch the ice. They love to go on the attack and their defensemen are active.”

Rob Scuderi: “They have some high-end talent, great goaltending, consistent goaltending, talent at every position. I seem to remember some pretty high-intensity games (in the regular season) and some back-and-forth games, a lot of flow right away.

“I would expect the same type of hockey.”

That great goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, will be much tougher to solve than Sergei Bobrovsky.

And the Rangers’ high-end talent is likewise something Columbus didn’t have, not to the degree the Rangers possess it in terms of numbers and experience.

Puck-management will still be critical, as will maintaining that postseason mindset the Penguins claim to have embraced as the Columbus series progressed.

But the style of hockey won’t be as foreign at the outset, nor will the concepts of how to attack and how to defend what the Rangers intend to throw at them.

That’s an advantage from the Penguins’ perspective.

So is this: The Rangers will have played five times in seven days through Game 3.

If New York finds itself having to adjust on the run, it’ll have little opportunity to do so.

 

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