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Rust Back, Johnson Out? Expected Penguins Lines, Preview vs. Rangers

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It is a new year for the Pittsburgh Penguins (21-12-6), but they are hoping to continue the results from the final weeks of 2018. The first challenge of 2019 will come on the road from the New York Rangers (17-14-7) at the house Billy Joel built, Madison Square Garden. The Penguins are in third place in the Metropolitan Division and two points ahead of the New York Islanders in the standings.

Bryan Rust was a full participant in the morning skate. While Jack Johnson and Jamie Oleksiak rotated on the third pairing with Marcus Pettersson. Johnson has done so before, but drawn into the lineup.

The Penguins seek their seventh straight win and are rolling with an 8-2 in their last 10 contests. This is the first time the Penguins and the Rangers will meet this season; last season’s series ended tied 2-2. The Penguins outscored the Rangers, 16-14.

The Penguins beat the Minnesota Wild, Monday night, 3-2.  Two late first period goals by Sidney Crosby (18) and Phil Kessel (17) put the Penguins in control. Kessel later set up Riley Sheahan for the game-winning goal. The game marked Kessel’s third straight three-point performance. Casey DeSmith started for the Penguins and stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced to continue the Penguins’ streak of quality goaltending.

Sidney Crosby has four-straight multi-point games. He is on pace for 105 points.

Devan Dubnyk saved 29 shots for the Wild while Zach Parise (17) and Mikko Koivu (5) added goals.

The Rangers won their second straight game, Saturday against the St. Louis Blues 2-1. The Rangers rallied from a deficit and rode a stellar performance from former Vezina trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist stopped 39 of the 40 shots and earned his 12th win of the year. Mats Zuccarello (4) and Boo Nieves (2) scored for the Rangers. Jake Allen started for the Blues and surrendered 2 goals on 23 shots. Ryan O’Reilly (15) scored the Blues only marker.

Injuries

Penguins

Justin Schultz (Fractured leg. IR)

Bryan Rust (Lower Body injury)

Olli Maatta ( Lower Body injury, game-time decision)

Rangers

 

Special Teams

TEAMPower PlayPenalty Kill
Pittsburgh Penguins20.3% (16th NHL)82.4% (7th NHL)
New Jersey Devils17.7% (22nd NHL)82.0% (10th NHL)

Penguins Lines

Expected Penguins Lines

LWCRW
Jason ZuckerSidney CrosbyConor Sheary
Patrick MarleauEvgeni MalkinBryan Rust
Evan RodriguesJared McCannPatric Hornqvist
Brandon TanevTeddy BluegerSam Lafferty
LDRD
Brian DumoulinKris Letang
Marcus PetterssonJohn Marino
Jack JohnsonJustin Schultz
Goalie
Matt Murray
Tristan Jarry

 

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