PITTSBURGH — Despite participating in morning skate prior to the Rangers’ no-show 7-2 loss in Game 4 against the Penguins on Monday, Ryan Lindgren was sidelined for a third straight game with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
Additionally, Dryden Hunt was scratched in favor of Jonny Brodzinski, who made his NHL playoff debut in the loss. Brodzinski lined up in the middle of the fourth line between Kevin Rooney and Ryan Reaves, logging one shot on goal and three hits in 10:39 of ice time.
Head coach Gerard Gallant was mulling going with 11 forwards and seven defensemen to alleviate some of the workload off of Lindgren if he was ready to go.
“Obviously, you know why I’m doing it if that’s the situation,” Gallant said. “I think any coach does it as a necessity for your team.”
The Rangers have gone with that alignment only twice during the regular season. In those two games, one in Winnipeg on March 6 and the other in Dallas on March 12, the Rangers pulled out wins. It may be something Gallant considers again for Game 5 when the Rangers face elimination at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
Gallant switched up his lines when things started getting out of hand in the second period. The Rangers’ top line of Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Frank Vatrano had a particularly rough night and were on the ice for three of the Penguins’ seven goals, including the two in the span of 24 seconds early in the middle frame.
By bumping Artemi Panarin up to the top line, Gallant demoted Frank Vatrano to the fourth unit. The second line became Alexis Lafreniere, Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp, while the third morphed into Kevin Rooney, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko.
The Penguins’ first-period game-tying goal came on another — you guessed it — controversial call that had to go under review. With defenseman Patrik Nemeth in the box for his team-leading fourth penalty of the series, Sidney Crosby jammed the puck in on the Penguins power play, but, with the puck under Shesterkin’s pad, it was difficult to see whether the puck had crossed the goal line.
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Officials deemed the puck had crossed the line and the goal was upheld for the 1-1 score at 11:17 of the first period. Crosby’s goal tied the star center with long-time Penguin Kevin Stevens for third place on the franchise’s all-time playoff power-play goals list with 20.
The Rangers’ power play, which had been one of the best in the NHL during the regular season, has gone 2-for-9 during this first-round series after whiffing on their lone man-advantage opportunity Monday night.
Penguins No. 1 goalie Tristan Jarry, who has missed every game this series with a fractured foot, has continued to skate and make progress toward a potential return either later in the first round or next if his team advances. … After absorbing a hard hit from Lindgren in Game 1 that sidelined him in Games 2 and 3, Penguins winger Rickard Rakell practiced in a non-contact jersey on Monday morning but did not participate in Game 4. … Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin, who was sidelined in Games 2 and 3 with a lower-body injury, is still not skating.