Board Topics: Nestor also won the Brisbane title
PITTSBURGH, Pa. George Mira Jersey . - 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. Delvin Williams Jersey . Jacob Jacques, Andrew Ryan and Jonathan Drouin also scored for Halifax (37-18-3), who outshot the Islanders 40-26. Kevin Darveau stopped 25 shots. Bradley Kennedy had the lone goal for Charlottetown (18-33-5), which has nine losses in its last 10 games. Ahkello Witherspoon Jersey . He was 40. Firefighters were called about 11 a.m. Friday because Brown was unresponsive at his home near the Inner Harbor, fire spokesman Battalion Chief Kevin Cartwright said. He said Brown was dead when firefighters arrived.ROME -- Canadian Daniel Nestor and Serbian partner Nenad Zimonjic reached the doubles final of the Italian Open on Saturday as they beat top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan for the second week in a row, advancing 7-6 (3), 4-6, 12-10. The sixth-seeded pair, who beat the Americans last week in the Madrid Masters final, needed one hour 39 minutes to complete the semifinal victory at the Foro Italico. "Today we were fortunate," said Nestor. "It was a tight match with both teams playing well. We both had chances but we found a way to win today. "It seems that against the Bryans right now, we can play our best against them when we have to." Nestor and Zimonjic will play an unseeded duo on Sunday. Robin Haase of the Netherlands and Spains Feliciano Lopez were to play Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic in the late semifinal. Either way, it will be a first career meeting for the veteran duo of Nestor and Zimonjic. "Both teams are very danngerous, and weve struggled against teams we dont know much about," said Nestor. Alex Smith Jersey. "We need to come to the court ready to play every point and not be satisfied with whats been going on for the last few weeks. "Our goal is to play well. If they are too good, well they are too good. If not, then we win a second title in a row." In the match tiebreak, Nestor and Zimonjic took a 6-3 lead only to give up three straight points. The Bryans blew a match point before Nestors team claimed victory on their second match point. The Canadian and his partner have won 26 titles as a team, including victories at Sydney and Madrid this season. They lost finals in Dubai and Barcelona. Nestor also won the Brisbane title alongside Mariusz Fyrstenberg of Poland in the opening week of the season. The Canadian is third with 84 career titles, trailing Mike Bryan (100) and Bob Bryan (98). The 41-year-old Canadian will be playing in his 140th career doubles final. ' ' '