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Pens Points: ECQF Game 1 News and Gameday Discussion

Here we go. Third year in a row, Blueshirts vs. Black & Gold.

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Good morning one and all,

*The playoffs are finally upon us. First off, a Sporting News exclusive interview with Pens GM Jim Rutherford. Great scoop by Sean Gentille. [Sporting News]

Third year in a row the Pens look across the ice and there are the New York Rangers. There's one small difference now, though. Speedster Carl Hagelin is on our side and that could be huge. [Penguins]

*It's been a wild and weird regular season for the Pens. Here is Meesh with a terrific recap of everything confusing, hilarious, good and bad that went down, in chronological order. [The Pensblog]

Excellent stuff as always from Seth Rorabaugh, compiling differences between regular-season and playoff hockey through the eyes of Pens veterans. [Empty Netters]

There are quite a few playoff first-timers as well, and they are excited, nervous, and all the rest that comes with it. But they've received a fair amount of playing time and that's important. [Penguins]

At nearly 40 years of age, Matt Cullen has been nothing short of excellent for the Pens this season. For his part, he can't imagine a better opportunity for himself. [Penguins]

Beau Bennett returns to practice. This is like Bill Murray waking up to that hideous Sony & Cher song over and over and over again. [Pens Inside Scoop]

*Kris Letang and his fellow NHL ironmen are ready to carry a heavy load in the playoffs. How do they prepare and make the most of their heavy minutes? [AP]

Henrik Lundqvist is over the brief illness that affected his practice earlier in the week, and ready to start between the pipes for the Rangers. [Sportsnet]

*Something good to listen to before the game tonight. Episode 34 of Garage League Podcast is out and Lyle and Andy talk playoffs and preseason predictions. [Sound Cloud]

Latest NHL injury roundup. Everybody's injured on every single team. [Sportsnet]

Sharks tab Martin Jones to start the playoffs over James Reimer. At least they have two good goalies ready to go. [AP]

Well, not everyone. The Ducks are getting healthy. Rakell, Bieksa, Perron are all coming back. That's gonna be a great series. I think the Preds could pull off an upset. [AP]

Predicting Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs using recent trends. [Sportsnet]

Jagr is everyone's favorite old guy in the playoffs. Many are also partial to Jumbo Joe and San Jose Sharks. Most teams have a wily vet still dancing. [AP]

*Your team didn't make the postseason? Here is your bandwagon guide to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. [Down Goes Brown]

Ottawa's new GM Pierre Dorion started with a clean slate by firing Dave Cameron and his staff. Now comes the hard part. [TSN]

Arizona Coyotes have expressed interest in hiring Toronto's Kyle Dubas. [Sportsnet]

John Tortorella says asking coaches to do something about increased scoring is a crock. [AP]

Free-agents-to-be Nazem Kadri and Morgan Rielly get 6-year contracts from the Maple Leafs. With that out of the way, we can now focus on an 18-year-extension for Brad Boyes. [Globe & Mail]

*, Recommended