The Pittsburgh Penguins (10-6-1) fight for a win without Sidney Crosby when they play the New York Rangers (7-6-2) at MSG, Tuesday. The Penguins prepare for the game with two of their highest-paid players out, but continue to play spirited hockey. Despite 64 total man-games lost for the team, the Penguins fall just short of third place in the Metro Division and cling to the first wild card.
Tuesday’s game provides the opportunity to help the Penguins’ cause against a Metro foe and continue to develop intangible skills while their star talent is nursed back to health. New York appears a few years off from contending again, but the Penguins must fight the urge to fall into a trap game. They do however hold the all-time series lead with a record of 151-142-23.
Matt Murray starts his fifth straight game in net, Tuesday. Murray besides being a workhorse the last month remains a driving force for the Penguins. New York starts Alexandar Georgiev, who holds a 3-3 record with a 2.86 goals-against.
For the second straight game, the Penguins rallied late in the third period and snatched a 3-2 shootout win against Chicago, Saturday. After a scoreless first period, Chicago started the second period with purpose and broke the scoreless tie at the 12:51 mark. Brandon Saad sent a cross-ice feed to Dominik Kubalik, who buries a one-timer from point-blank range to open a lead over the Penguins. The goal was Kubalik’s fourth of his rookie campaign and quieted the PPG Paint Arena crowd.
Chicago quickly added on to their lead with another strike less than two minutes later. Patrick Kane (6) skated the length of the ice and whipped a wrist shot short-side to extend the lead to two. The Penguins looked bloodied and stunned but cut the lead to one late in the period to scavenged momentum into the intermission. Evgeni Malkin set Jake Guentzel up for his sixth goal of the season, and the Penguins seemed poised for yet another comeback.
Locked and loaded, the Penguins dominated long stretches of the third period, but could not push tying goal across. After the Penguins line up received a blow with a Sidney Crosby injury and were forced to shuffle lines, gold was struck. Bryan Rust continued his six-game point streak by snapping a sharp angle shot to tie the game. The play started with efforts by John Marino and Evgeni Malkin; players required to step up in team absences.
In OT, neither team found the back of the net despite talent-filled ice, and the teams settle for a shootout. Jake Guentzel and Jared McCann each tallied a goal and secured the second point for the Penguins. Matt Murray exhibited another gutsy performance with a 29 save effort while Corey Crawford also stopped 29 shots.
New York blew three separate leads on the way to a 5-4 shootout loss to Florida, Sunday. Vincent Trocheck scored the shootout winner while Evgenii Dadonov scored a goal and two assists. Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome each had two assists in the losing effort. Sam Montembeault beat Henrik Lundqvist with a 29 save effort. Lundqvist ended his day stopping 30 of 35 shots.
Wednesday bodes well for a breakout game from Alex Galchenyuk. The 25-year old Galchenyuk currently sits one point shy of 300 in his career. He has 13 points in 18 career games versus the Rangers, but remains stuck at four assists so far this year.
Defenseman Marcus Pettersson has six points in five career games against New York, which includes points in four straight. He has points in both visits to Madison Square Garden in his career. Pettersson’s holds two career multi-point nights against New York.
After returning from an 11-game absence on November 2, Evgeni Malkin is starting to hit his stride. Malkin currently has points in three consecutive games and has figured in on four of Pittsburgh’s last five goals. Malkin hopes to continue to elevate his game in Sidney Crosby’s absence.
Patric Hornqvist (Lower-body, IR)
Kris Letang (Lower-Body, Week to Week)
Sidney Crosby (Lower-Body)
New York Rangers
Yegor Rykov (Ankle)
Mika Zibanejad (Upper-body)
Marc Staal (Ankle)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||16.5% (23rd NHL)||81.2% (15th NHL)|
|LA Kings||13.1% (29th NHL)||73.3% (30th NHL)|
Expected Penguins Lines
|Bryan Rust||Jake Guentzel||Alex Galchenyuk|
|Dominik Kahun||Jared McCann||Zach Aston-Reese|
|Dominik Simon||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Joseph Blandisi||Sam Lafferty||Stefan Noesen|
|John Marino||Kris Letang|
|Jack Johnson||Justin Schultz|
|Marcus Pettersson||Chad Ruhwedel|