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Tough Task; Penguins Game 74 vs. Rangers: Lines, Notes & How to Watch

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, New York Rangers

The Pittsburgh Penguins kick off a stretch of three road games in four nights on Monday, and what a test that will be.

The Penguins (32-30-11) face the top team in the NHL Monday when they travel to play the New York Rangers (50-20-4) before moving on to New Jersey and Washington, two more Metropolitan Division clubs.

For weeks, the Penguins have had, to be kind, mixed results facing games that were crucial to keeping their very slim playoff chances alive.

Game Time

The game starts a little after 7 p.m.

Penguins Preview

The Penguins are 2-0-2 in their past four games. They are coming off yet another letdown as they blew a two-goal, third-period lead Saturday and lost 4-3 in a shootout at Columbus, the last-place team in the Eastern Conference.

Pull back further, and the Penguins are 5-9-3 in their past 17 games, not exactly the results of a team making the most of its opportunities.

On the road, they have lost eight in a row (0-6-2).

A couple bright spots have been the play and productivity of the top line, and something social media has been screaming for – some playing time for a few younger players.

But the power play has produced no goals in five of the past six games, and shorthanded chances are still a problem.

The Penguins also have caused some intrigue by going with backup goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic as the starter the past four games. Tristan Jarry is expected to start against the Rangers, and with back-to-back games Nedeljkovic likely will start against the Devils on Tuesday.

Winger Michael Bunting left Saturday’s game at Columbus because of an illness, but perhaps 48 hours will be enough time for him to be able to play.

Read more:

Kingerski: This is Why the Penguins Can’t Have Nice Things

Molinari: Another Third-Period Breakdown; Penguins Lose 4-3 in Shootout

The Rangers are beasts. They have won five games in a row, seven of the past nine, are 22-5-2 in their past 29, and are coming off an 8-5 pasting of the Arizona Coyotes, their season high in goals.

They were the first team to clinch a playoff spot, have one of the best goal differentials, plus-51, and are 26-9-0 at home, where they have won 11 of their past 13.

Artemi Panarin has 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) during the winning streak.

If you need something to show that they are human, the Rangers had pulled out three wins in a row in overtime or a shootout – and had to stage comebacks in two of those wins — before the win Saturday at Arizona.

Expected Penguins Lines

Drew O’Connor-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust

Michael Bunting-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rakell

Reilly Smith-Lars Eller-Valtteri Puustinen

Jesse Puljujarvi-Sam Poulin-Jeff Carter

Defense

P.O Joseph-Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson

John Ludvig-Jack St. Ivany

Goalies

Tristan Jarry

Alex Nedeljkovic

Expected Rangers Lines

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Jack Roslovic

Artemi Panarin-Vincent Trocheck-Alexis Lafreniere

Jonny Brodzinski-Alexander Wennberg-Kaapo Kakko

Will Cuylle-Barclay Goodrow-Jimmy Vesey

Defense

Ryan Lindgren-Adam Fox

K’Andre Miller-Braden Schneider

Zac Jones-Chad Ruhwedel

Goalies

Igor Shesterkin

Jonathan Quick

Penguins Special Teams

Penguins power play: 14.8%, 30th

Penguins penalty kill: 81.5%, 11th

Rangers power play: 26.0%, 4th

Rangers penalty kill: 83.3%, 4th

Penguins Game Notes

The Penguins lost to the Rangers 1-0 at home Nov. 22 and 7-4 at home March 16. This is their only trip to Madison Square Garden, where they have lost four straight.

Sidney Crosby has a four-game point streak (2 goals, 8 assists).

Sidney Crosby has 105 points (38 goals, 67 assists) in 84 career games against the Rangers.

Evgeni Malkin has 70 points (31 goals, 39 assists) in 72 career games against the Rangers.

Drew O’Connor has goals in three straight games.

Sidney Crosby leads the NHL with 989 faceoffs won.

Lars Eller is two points shy of 400 for his career.

How to Watch

TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh

Radio: 105.9 FM The X

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Rick C
Rick C
11 days ago

Hate to point this out, but since Guentzel was injured and then traded the players on that top line have gone, Crosby – 3.41 TGF/60, 4.94 TGA/60 Rust – 3.30 TGF/60, 4.83 TGA/60 O’Connor – 3.47 TGF/60. 3.68 TGA/60 (According to Natural Stat Trick) Yes the top line is scoring Goals, but they are giving up goals at a much faster rate – that line is underwater on the score sheet. Conversely, the much maligned Evgeni Malkin has been on the ice for 3.15 TGF/60 and 3.15 TGA/60. Malkin has at least broken even in 5 on 5 situations over… Read more »