Penguins-Rangers Preview

Henrik Lundqvist's return sparked the New York Rangers to level this first-round playoff series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ryan McDonagh could provide the latest lift.

With the status of their injured captain unknown, the Rangers look to take the series lead as it shifts to Madison Square Garden for Game 3 on Tuesday night.

New York was dealt a major blow in Game 1 when Lundqvist had to leave after the first period with an eye injury after Marc Staal's stick hit him through his mask. Backup Antti Raanta stopped 16 of 19 shots in the 5-2 loss Wednesday.

Lundqvist was back Saturday for Game 2 and made 29 saves in a vintage performance that included three in the final 35 seconds of the 4-2 win.

"I don't think going down two games to nothing would have been a good idea, so I think that sort of raised the level or urgency and emotion," coach Alain Vigneault said. "Our guys have to understand by now, we're playing against the best team in the league since Christmas and if (coach Mike Sullivan) would've been there sine Day One, they would've challenged Washington.

"There's no doubt that we need to be at our best."

That means having a healthy McDonagh, who has been out since injuring his hand at Columbus on April 4.

McDonagh practiced Monday for the first time since, but Vigneault wouldn't say if he's ready to go, only saying "stranger things have happened."

"It's a good thing that he is skating," Lundqvist said. "That's the best part. We know that he is close. We just don't know what game."

The same could be said of fellow defenseman Dan Girardi, who missed Game 2 and is day to day with an undisclosed injury.

The Rangers' 27-10-4 home record ranked only behind Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington and Dallas, the top seed in the Western Conference. However, New York has lost its last two against Pittsburgh at MSG after taking five of the previous six, including playoff series over the last two seasons - both won by the Rangers.

"Playoff hockey at home in New York is just a great feeling," said Lundqvist, who went 22-6-3 with a 2.31 goals-against average at MSG. "Every time you go out there it's goosebumps. You're excited and nervous and you just want to go out there and win."

The Penguins look to spoil the party and might have an unexpected guest in net. Matt Murray practiced Monday after hurting his head in a collision during the season finale at Philadelphia on April 9.

"I'm progressing the way I want and it's a day at a time process," Murray told the team's official website. "When I'm healthy and 100 percent then I'll be ready to play in games. Until that point I'm not really thinking too much about it."

Marc-Andre Fleury also practiced Monday, taking another step as he recovers from a concussion on March 31.

''To me it's frustrating to not play and still be talking about it,'' Fleury said. ''It's tough. It feels (like) forever.''

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was coy about his choice for a Game 3 starter.

Unless Fleury or Murray returns, third-string Jeff Zatkoff is in line for a third straight start. He's stopped 59 of 65 shots in the series but surrendered three goals in a span of 4:14 of the second period Saturday.

"I think given the situation, my mindset is just that I'm preparing like I'm playing every single game," he said. "You don't know what's going to happen with it and you've just got to make sure you're ready."

Phil Kessel had two goals Saturday after getting one assist on Patric Hornqvist's Game 1 hat trick. The right wing has 12 points over his last 10 meetings with the Rangers, including five in the past three.

Sidney Crosby is looking to get back on the score sheet after failing to do so in Game 2. He had three points Wednesday as part of his 32 during a 23-game stretch.

Crosby has 37 points in 36 overall games at MSG, including four goals and two assists in the past four.