5 Ways for the Pittsburgh Penguins to Shock the New York Rangers

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Sep 25, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) shoots the puck against the Minnesota Wild during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

2. Chorney And Dumoulin Step Up Under Pressure

Due to injuries and salary cap restrictions, the Penguins were forced to play with a smaller roster down the stretch. The playoffs, however, eliminate the salary cap, which has enabled the team to call up defensemen Brian Dumoulin and Scott Harrington.

While Harrington will serve primarily as a failsafe, Dumoulin will likely find himself reunited with his AHL defensive partner from earlier in the season, Taylor Chorney. In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Chorney and Dumoulin were among the strongest defensive pairings in the entire league. According to Saturday night’s broadcast against the Sabres by Root Sports, they only allowed five even-strength goals all season. They also helped the AHL squad allow the fewest goals of any team all season.

While it is unrealistic to expect these unexperienced defenders to enter the NHL playoffs and replicate this success against the regular season champions,  it is feasible that a full-fledged defense with proven chemistry will go a long ways toward improving the Penguins’ chances.

It will be a trial by fire for these young defensemen, but if they can step up against the powerful Rangers offense and help eliminate the type of scoring chances that have felled the team over the past several weeks, it will be a major improvement.