NEW YORK — One more time. The Pittsburgh Penguins gave away a pair of second-period two-goal leads in Games 5 and 6. A 3-1 series lead has become the best of one. There are just 60 minutes (plus possible overtimes) of hockey remaining this season for the Pittsburgh Penguins or New York Rangers. Game 7.
The puck drops Sunday at 7 p.m.
UPDATE: Sidney Crosby, Rickard Rakell and Tristan Jarry are IN the lineup.
The Penguins’ drama could be a boon to their lineup. No. 1 goalie Tristan Jarry appears ready to play. He took a variety of shots and situational drills on Sunday morning at the morning skate. He took the starter’s net while Louis Domingue and Alex D’Orio shared the other. Jarry was also the first goalie off.
Head coach Mike Sullivan was evasive on his lineup. Officially, Jarry will be a game-time decision. None of the Penguins’ top players skated Sunday morning. Sidney Crosby and Rickard Rakell are game-time decisions.
The Penguins have largely outplayed New York over the last three games, but spotty goaltending and momentary lapses, combined with Crosby’s absence, have been detrimental. The Penguins lost a 2-0 lead in Game 5 mere minutes after Crosby was injured. New York scored three goals in less than three minutes in the immediate aftermath.
Game 7 Analysis:
New York’s power play has also been lethal. It registered two more goals in Game 6, which staked them a 3-2 lead. The New York power play is clicking at 33.3% (5-for-15), which almost seems low given the shots and chances generated.
The Penguins’ power-play has four goals in the series, including a pair from PP2 as time nearly expired. Otherwise, New York has dominated the special teams’ battles, which is part of the reason for Game 7.
One can assume if Sidney Crosby is healthy enough to play, the New York Rangers might be in trouble. Crosby dominated them before an injurious hit took him out, and a little extra hate, combined with Game 7, makes a serious cocktail.
However, Tristan Jarry is probably not in game shape. While he appears ready to start Game 7, he could tire later in the game. The Penguins may have to work extra hard to protect him later in the game. In this case, the adrenaline of Game 7 could work against the Penguins goalie; mental fatigue could be a factor in a close game.
Brian Boyle will not play. Sullivan said he is out week-to-week with an injury. Brian Dumoulin also will not play. Sullivan said his rehab continues.
Rickard Rakell and Crosby did not participate in the morning skate but practiced on Saturday. Depth forward Drew O’Connor did not skate, either, which leads us to believe he won’t be in the lineup, and Rakell will.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins 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|
*denotes Game-Time decision
New York Rangers Expected Lines per PuckPedia.com:
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If Crosby plays, the emotional jolt will be significant. If Jarry plays, watch the Penguins protect him like a little sister.
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You’re welcome. Enjoy. Hopefully, I’ll see you on the other side.