The Pittsburgh Penguins (24-12-2) injury woes worsened this week, but the show must go on. The Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin and Kasperi Kapanen, who have not yet resumed skating. The Penguins will also be without Brandon Tanev, who was placed on IR retroactive to April 3.
The Penguins have a chance to effectively put a dagger through the New York Rangers’ (17-15-5) playoff hopes.
Tristan Jarry will return from injury to start in goal for the Penguins. Jarry is 15-8-2 with a 2.79 GAA and a .910 save percentage.
The third-place Penguins lead New York by 11 points in the East Division, but two regulation wins would extend the Penguins cushion over New York to 15 points. New York trails fourth-place Boston by five points with 19 games remaining.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan will also be without center Teddy Blueger, a full participant in the last two Penguins practices but will be unable to go. Jared McCann, Frederick Gaudreau, and Mark Jankowski will likely remain the Penguins’ middle for at least another game.
The Boston Bruins snapped the Penguins’ five-game winning streak on Saturday in the second of their game set. The Penguins lost a wild 7-5 game.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Jared McCann||Jeff Carter||Freddy Gaudreau|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Mike Matheson||Cody Ceci|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Chris Kreider||Mika Zibanejad||Pavel Buchnevich|
|Artemi Panarin||Ryan Strome||Colin Blackwell|
|Alexis Lafreniere||Filip Chytil||Kappo Kaako|
|Philip Di Giuseppi||Kevin Rooney||Vitali Kravstov|
|Ryan Lindgren||Adam Fox|
|K'Andre Miller||Jacob Trouba|
|Libor Hajek||Brendan Smith|
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||23.7%, 4th NHL||77.4%, 27th NHL|
|New York Islanders||18.8%, 21st NHL||83.7%, 6th NHL|
What to Watch
The New York Rangers are fast. They play like the Penguins with a good forecheck and backcheck. They also like to play on the rush.
However, New York is also soft. In previous meetings, the Penguins have been able to work New York along the wall and in the corner. In fact, it’s been a very good matchup for the Penguins because New York does many of the same things as do the Penguins, but the Penguins are better at it and a little stronger.
Mika Zibanejad has rebounded from a terrible start. He has 28 points (12g, 16a) in 37 games. New York also has goal-scorer extraordinaire Artemi Panarin. Over the last 11 games, the Rangers are 6-3-2.
The Penguins are 6-3-1 in their last 10.
Unlike previous games, the Penguins’ ability to get to their rush game will not be paramount. The Penguins’ ability to get behind the Rangers defensemen and work hard in the corners will be how they control the game. The Penguins’ lack of offensive stars may eventually catch up with them, so their ability to play tight to the puck and play simple hockey will be how they win.
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
*The Penguins have points in 12 of its last 13 games versus New York (9-1-3)
*The Penguins are in the midst of six straight, and eight of nine games, on the road
*Overall, the Penguins have earned points in 12 of their last 15 games overall (11-3-1).
*The Penguins have the most takeaways (301) in the NHL this season. Sidney Crosby leads the Pittsburgh Penguins and ranks second in the NHL with 38 takeaways, just one behind Vegas’ Mark Stone (39).
*The Penguins are 5-0-0 this season when playing a game on two days rest.
How to Watch: 7 P.M.
TV: AT&T SportsNet, NBCSN;
Radio: 105.9 The X