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Big Challenge Awaits, Penguins Gm 54: Lines, Notes & How to Watch vs. Rangers

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Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers Game

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

LWCRW
Jake GuentzelSidney CrosbyBryan Rust
Jason ZuckerEvgeni MalkinRickard Rakell
Danton HeinenRyan PoehlingKasperi Kapanen
Brock McGinnSam PoulinDrew O'Connor
LDRD
Brian DumoulinKris Letang
Marcus PetterssonJeff Petry
P.O JosephJan Rutta
Goalie
Tristan Jarry
Casey DeSmith

Expected Rangers Lines, per PuckPedia.com:

Kreider-Zibanejad-Lafrenierre

Panarin-Strome-Hunt

McKegg-Barron-Gauthier

Goodrow-Rooney-Reaves

Defense:

Lindgren-Fox

Miller-Trouba

Jones-Schneider

Goalie:

Igor Shesterkin

Penguins Betting

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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.

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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

Subscribe to PHN+

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
9 months ago

If the Pens beat the Rangers and Kappy scores then all will be great in Ice Capade Land. The fact is to win in the playoffs changes need to be made!!!

GBG
GBG
9 months ago

Malkin has to go. For the love of Pete that should be apparent to everyone. The passion is gone from his game and now he’s an anvil on that second line. He’s neither physical enough nor aggressive enough anymore so trade him while he has value on the open market. For once the Pens have a bunch of centers. Get Rodriguez back on one of the higher lines and LGP

Kris
Kris
9 months ago
Reply to  GBG

Yeah, except for that stinky no trade clause he has.

Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
9 months ago
Reply to  Kris

Sweet talk him into Florida. He loves it there.

Mike Donnelly
Mike Donnelly
9 months ago
Reply to  GBG

Hmm….

Jason.C
Jason.C
9 months ago

hi Dan so why doesn’t Sully or the GM get this what you talked about with the Rangers they got tired of bing pushed around and added some muscle in Revo and Goodrow?! Why does sully refuse to play guys like Reaves and others similar? It’s frustrating it’s maddening and the Penguins had Reeves at one point! Does the Hextall and Burke ever bring muscle to the line up and overrule Sully? I think it should have happened already when we had Reaves! There was nothing more great to see than Reaves chasing down Wilson! Wilson wanted very little to… Read more »

Katz
Katz
9 months ago

This game likely will be another loss. Rangers First line an PP are clicking. Kreider on fire. Shesterkin playing well. If this was a First Round matchup it could be a sweep.

Last edited 9 months ago by Katz
Mike Donnelly
Mike Donnelly
9 months ago
Reply to  Katz

(As per usual) You are wrong

Crazyhorse87
Crazyhorse87
9 months ago

The only way the Pens beat the Rangers is when pigs fly, damn, a police chopper is just flying by.

Chase Cranson
Chase Cranson
9 months ago

I totally agree with all these comments here sadly March is crunch time and it remains to be seen if Jarry has improved he is overwhelmed by a soft defense and only a one line scoring is a problem if Columbus ever got going a good wake up call would be they miss the playoffs this year can’t see them beating the Rangers today time for a new approach but Sully is stubborn here comes a 4 game losing streak.

Mike Donnelly
Mike Donnelly
9 months ago
Reply to  Chase Cranson

You are wrong

Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
9 months ago

Sullivan won in 16 and 17 but he will never win again. He is a Dinasauer looking for a tar pit!

Mike Donnelly
Mike Donnelly
9 months ago

Wrong again.