Penguins vs. Rangers, Game 68: Lines, Notes & How to Watch
The Pittsburgh Penguins came up with one of their best all-around performances of the season during a 3-2 overtime victory against the New York Rangers Sunday at PPG Paints Arena.
They likely will have to match, if not surpass, that effort if they hope to get one point, let alone two, out of a rematch at Madison Square Garden tonight at 7:08.
It will be the first of a pair of games against the Rangers at the Garden; the season series will conclude there Saturday at 8:08 p.m.
New York is comfortably ensconced in third place in the Metropolitan Division, eight points behind second-place New Jersey and eight points ahead of the Penguins.
The Penguins, who hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference playoff field, are much closer to the teams chasing them than they are to the Rangers. In fact, the New York Islanders’ 6-3 victory in Anaheim Wednesday night lifted them into a tie with the Penguins in points, although the Penguins have the edge because they have played three fewer games than the Islanders.
But the Islanders aren’t the only threat to the Penguins as the regular season enters its final month.
Florida and Washington are just five points behind those two, while Buffalo is six back.
So while the Penguins, publicly at least, have not given up hope of catching the Rangers — both teams have 15 games remaining — they also have to be aware of the clubs hoping to overtake them.
The games against the Rangers kick off a stretch that figures to be the most challenging the Penguins will face during the balance of the regular season.
Following the games at the Garden, they will return home to face Ottawa Monday, then travel to Colorado and Dallas.
Only three of the 10 games after that will be against teams currently occupying a playoff spot.
Just what the Penguins will be playing for by then might well be determined by whether they’re able to elevate their game — and keep it at a high level — when they venture into the Garden tonight and Saturday.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
Expected New York Rangers Lines
Penguins power play: 51 for 233, 21.9%, 14th in NHL
Penguins penalty-kill: 43 for 214, 79,9%, 14th in NHL (tie)
Rangers power play: 48 for 204, 23.5%, 8th in NHL
Rangers penalty-kill: 39 for 192, 79.7%, 16th in NHL
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
Sidney Crosby’s next goal will be his 30th. It will be the 11th time he has reached that milestone, tying Mario Lemieux’s franchise record.
Defensemen have scored 19 of the Penguins’ past 73 goals.
Evgeni Malkin, who is on a six-game points streak, has 31 goals in 69 career games against New York.
The Penguins have seven power-play goals in the past six games.
P.O Joseph does not have a point in his past 10 games.
The Penguins’ leader in shots is Rickard Rakell, with 205. He has scored on 23 of them.
Kris Letang has 29 career three-point games, tying him for the fourth-most among active NHL defensemen.
The Rangers have a better record when being outshot (18-4-8) than when outshooting their opponent (20-14-2).
New York winger Chris Kreider has three goals in two games against the Penguins in 2022-23.
Rangers winger Artemi Panarin has scored on a team-high four of five chances in shootouts this season.
New York center Vincent Trocheck, an Upper St. Clair native, has 66 penalty minutes in 22 career games against the Penguins.
New York is 25-5-4 when scoring the first goal of the game.
How to Watch
TV: TT&T Sports Net
Radio: 105.9 the X