The Pittsburgh Penguins (31-14-8) have not been a good team lately. They’ve lost three in a row and have only four wins in their last 11 games. They get their first look at the revamped, young hot-shot New York Rangers (33-13-5) on Saturday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena. It’s a battle for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
The puck drops just after 3 p.m. The game will be on ABC and ESPN+.
The Penguins are fresh from a stinging 6-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils. The game was over in the first period as New Jersey scored three goals, each directly from Penguins mistakes. New Jersey weathered the pushback early in the second period and added a couple more goals.
The postgame commentary from PHN was not kind: Flailing Pittsburgh Penguins self-inflicted another loss.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are 5-0-1 in their last six with big wins over the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, and Florida Panthers. The Rangers were tired of being pushed around and added some grit in the offseason. Ryan Reaves and Barclay Goodrow created an attitude adjustment for New York.
Igor Shesterkin, 26, waited in line behind Henrik Lundqvist but is earning a reputation as one of the best goalies in the league. His numbers this season are ridiculous. He has a 1.98 GAA, and a .940 save percentage with a 25-5-3 record. He surely will be one of the Vezina Trophy nominees.
Tristan Jarry (likely starter) has been seen his numbers climb as the Penguins game has faltered. Jarry has given up 13 goals over his last three starts and was pulled midway through the second period against New Jersey. However, don’t take that to mean he’s struggling. The Penguins are gifting breakaways and point-blank chances by the handful.
Head coach Mike Sullivan made some changes to the lines on Friday and downplayed any significance. Zach Aston-Reese was displaced on the fourth line by Kasper Bjorkqvist. Kasperi Kapanen was back on the second line as Jeff Carter was back in the middle of the third.
The Penguins also recalled P.O. Joseph after announcing defenseman Mike Matheson was out week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Joseph or Mark Friedman will step into the lineup on Saturday.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Rickard Rakell|
|Danton Heinen||Ryan Poehling||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Brock McGinn||Sam Poulin||Drew O'Connor|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||Jeff Petry|
|P.O Joseph||Jan Rutta|
Expected Rangers Lines, per PuckPedia.com:
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Moneyline: Penguins (-160), Rangers (+135)
Sidney Crosby is 13-1 to score the first goal. If the Penguins have any life, it seems that the first goal will be Crosby or Evgeni Malkin (13-1), doesn’t it? The bet we definitely like is a first-period goal. If either team scores (-150), it’s a nice payout for an easy bet.
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
*The Penguins have points in 13 of its last 15 games versus New York (10-2-3) and is 14-4-3 in its last 21 games versus the Rangers.
*Bryan Rust’s 1.50 points-per-game average at home (14GP, 12-12-24) is tied for fourth in the NHL and trails only Kirill Kaprizov (1.75), Max Pacioretty (1.70), and Jonathan Huberdeau (1.68).
*Evgeni Malkin’s goal on Thursday against New Jersey was the 431st of his career, surpassing Alex Kovalev (430) for the sixth-most goals in NHL history by a Russian-born player
*Since head coach Mike Sullivan took over behind the Pittsburgh bench, no team has scored more goals against the New York Rangers than the Penguins (101).
How to Watch:
TV: ABC, ESPN+; Radio: 105.9 The X