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. - Dont worry, Kris Letang insists. The heat is coming. Sure, the Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman admits the New York Rangers dont invite quite the same animosity inside his teams locker room as the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers ended any shot of that tantalizing matchup when they beat the Flyers in seven games to set up a showdown with Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference semifinals starting Friday. That doesnt mean Letang expects the next two weeks to be devoid of drama. Far from it. "Im pretty sure the intensity will get really high at one point when we start," Letang said. "The emotion is always going to be part of the game and were going to have to control it the best we can." Its an internal battle the Penguins won during a taut first-round series against Columbus. Expected to send the inexperienced Blue Jackets home without much effort, Pittsburgh needed six trying games to advance. The way the Penguins figure it, thats a good thing. Forced to respond to adversity, they played what coach Dan Bylsma called their best 120 minutes this season to avoid the upset. "We keep coming and we keep coming, playing forward and playing in the offensive zone and grinding teams down with that play with that speed and quickness," Bylsma said. "Games 5 and 6 were our best at playing that way." The Penguins will need to do it four more times if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight year. They split their four regular-season meetings with New York, all of them coming before the Olympic break. The Rangers hardly look like the team that was still struggling to find an identity when they last faced Pittsburgh in early February. Pittsburgh is no longer the patched-together unit that cruised to the Metropolitan Division title despite having stars Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Paul Martin and James Neal miss large chunks of the season due to injury. The Penguins are healthy. New York is hot. Five things to look for heading into Game 1. SLUMPING STARS: Pittsburgh captain and likely NHL MVP Sidney Crosby hasnt scored a goal in his past 10 playoff games. New York forward Rick Nash has just one in 19 post-season contests wearing a Rangers sweater. Whichever streak ends first could swing the balance of the series. Crosby had six assists against the Blue Jackets, including one to Malkin in the first period of Game 6 in Columbus that gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Crosby knows he needs to take more chances. So does Nash, who can live with the drought as long as the Rangers keep it going. "Thats all that matters," Nash said. "Im going to try to keep getting my game going." LUNDQVIST VS. FLEURY: New Yorks Henrik Lundqvist and Pittsburghs Marc-Andre Fleury are the two winningest goaltenders in the regular season over the past five years, combining for 334 victories. Yet Lundqvist has yet to lift the Rangers past the conference finals while Fleury has struggled in the playoffs since helping the Penguins win the Stanley Cup in 2009. Both had their wayward moments in the first round. Both responded with brilliant play. Whoever gets hot — and stays hot — will give his team the upper hand. POWERLESS POWER PLAY: The Rangers went just 3 for 29 on the power play against Philadelphia, ending the series by failing to score 21 straight times with the man advantage. Not exactly the recipe to hang with the Penguins, who had the NHLs best power play during the regular season and was a solid 4 for 15 against the Blue Jackets while adding a pair of short-handed goals in the process. GENOS BACK: Like Crosby, Malkin was in the midst of a lengthy goal drought before coming up with his second career playoff hat trick in the clincher against the Blue Jackets. The rust that came with missing the final three weeks of the regular season appeared to vanish as he lit up Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 6. Playing alongside Crosby at times to try to shake loose the cobwebs, Malkin got hot. Expect to see the two MVPs on the ice frequently against New York. NEW YORK MINUTE: Game 1 marks the middle of a busy stretch in which the Rangers will play five times in seven days. Thats fine by them considering it beats the alternative of watching from home. "Now were in the middle of it and were in the battle," New York forward Brad Richards said. "This is when it gets real fun." ___ AP Sports Writer Ira Podell in New York contributed to this report. Tom Glavine Braves Jersey
. -- The Erie Otters won their eighth straight game with a four-goal outburst in the third en route to an 8-4 win over the Sarnia Sting in Ontario Hockey League play Saturday. Craig Kimbrel Braves Jersey
. -- The new starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs is a former first-round draft pick on a one-year deal whose career thus far has been a disappointment.The market is beginning to build up for pending unrestricted free agent Martin Brodeur. According to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun, Brodeurs agent Pat Brisson has spoken to six teams so far regarding the veteran goaltender. In 39 games with the New Jersey Devils in 2013-2014, Brodeur posted a 19-14-6 record with a 2.51 goals against average and a .901 save percentage with three shutouts. LeBrun adds that the market for Brodeur will heat up more following the draft. The 42-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Brodeur is coming off a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $4.5 million. Over 1,259 career games in New Jersey, the Montreal nativee has a 688-394-49 record with a 2. Hank Aaron Jersey
. .24 GAA and a .912 save percentage with 124 shutouts. Brodeur is a three-time Stanley Cup champion (1995, 2000, 2003), four-time Vezina Trophy winner (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008) and won the Calder Memorial Trophy in his rookie season (1994). Hes also been named to play in nine All-Star Games and has won two Olympic gold medals (2002, 2010). Brodeur is the holder of many NHL records including most regular season wins (688), most regular season shutouts (124) and has the most games played by an NHL goaltender (1,259). He was originally selected by New Jersey in the first round (20th overall) of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys
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