NEW YORK — The Pittsburgh Penguins have their first chance to eliminate a team and advance to Round Two since 2018. It seems a different world and maybe universe, but the Penguins have a chance to do something previous salary cap dynasties in LA and Chicago never did: win a playoff series after their reign ended.
The Penguins lead the series 3-1 and can end it Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The puck drops just after 7 p.m. As always, get seated before the National Anthem. Hopefully, the TV broadcast shows it with the full sound and graphics. It’s hair-on-arm-raising awesome as the fans go crazy for the American flag and closeups of New York’s public servants in the police and fire departments.
Both the LA Kings and Chicago Blackhawks were 0-2, and neither has won a playoff series since they were defeated in the year following their last Stanely Cup (Kings 2014, Blackhawks 2015).
The Penguin core of Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Evgeni Malkin have led the charge in Round One. Crosby has multi-point games in all four games (2-7-9). Malkin has two goals (2-1-3), including the Game 1 triple-OT winner. And despite a couple of rough patches, Letang has three assists.
Jeff Carter leads the Penguins with three goals (3-0-3).
Edit: Guentzel leads the Penguins with six goals.
Wednesday morning, No. 1 goalie Tristan Jarry took another step forward in his rehab when he took real shots for the first time. Head coach Mike Sullivan called it “a big jump” in his process.
However, new fan favorite and uber-quotable goalie Louis Domingue will start for the Penguins, and organizational depth goalie Alex D’Orio will suit up for Game 5.
The Penguins lineup will likely be the same as Game 4, with Brian Dumoulin and Rickard Rakell out. However, it’s the playoffs, and surprises happen. As of Tuesday, Rakell has not been cleared for contact. Dumoulin has not yet skated since being injured in Game 1.
New York is reeling. Not only have the Penguins punctured goalie Igor Shesterkin’s impenetrable image, but they’ve also scored 10 goals in the last three periods against him. Shesterkin didn’t finish either Game 3 or 4 in Pittsburgh.
New York head coach Gerard Gallant ripped his team after the game.
“We got away from it. One goal, two goals. We played soft, were soft all over the ice. That’s the biggest difference. We’re soft all over the ice,” the coach said.
Gallant said Shesterkin would start Game 5.
A New York win sends the series back to PPG Paints Arena on Friday. A Penguins win means they await the winner of the Carolina Hurricanes – Boston Bruins series.
Pittsburgh Penguins Expected Lines:
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Rickard Rakell||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Jason Zucker||Jeff Carter||Danton Heinen|
|Brock McGinn||Teddy Blueger||Evan Rodrigues|
|Mike Matheson||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Mark Friedman||Chad Ruhwedel|
New York Rangers Expected Lines per PuckPedia.com:
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:
*The Penguins are 13-6 all-time in the postseason at Madison Square Garden.
*Head coach Mike Sullivan now has the most playoff wins of any coach in Penguins history (44), surpassing Dan Bylsma (43).
*The Penguins are 9-7 in games where they can clinch a series under Sullivan.
*Only Cale Makar (9) and Victor Hedman (6) have more points this postseason than Mike Matheson (5) among defensemen.
*The Penguins are 15-3 (.833) in playoff series all-time when entering Game 5 with a 3-1 series lead, including a 3-0 series record when starting that series on the road.
We won’t mention 2014.
Pittsburgh Penguins Bets
The bet against Dan magic is back. After a couple of long-shots, we whiffed on having OT in Game 4. It seems tempting to call it again for Game 5, doesn’t it? You don’t think the Rangers will go down without the fight of their lives.
Oddsmakers think the game will go to OT, too, so the payout is peanuts (+175). Let’s skip that one.
It will be important for the Penguins to take care of business–they can’t let a young team feel like they have a chance. The first period will be crucial–both weathering the storm and pushing back.
The pick today–use the free $50 bet DraftKings Promo here before they pull that promotion (hurry up, it’s probably soon)–Take the Penguins to win and Jake Guentzel and Sidney Crosby to combine for 3+ goals (+700). If you use the full $50 bet on that, you’ll make a cool $350 and be screaming for those two to score.
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T SportsNet, ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA; Radio: 105.9 The X)