Recreation 40 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers 4/8/2021: Strains the way in which to see them
WHO: Pittsburgh penguins (24-13-2, 50 points, 3rd place in the Eastern Division) @ New York Rangers (18-15-5, 41 points, 6th place Eastern Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. East
How to watch: AT&T Sportsnet in Pittsburgh, MSG in the NYC area, also available on ESPN +
Chase opponents: The Rangers opened the proverbial can of Whoop Ass on the pens on Tuesday night and won 8-4. Offensive explosions were nothing new. In the past 11 games, NYR has had some high total goals for singles (including 9, 5, 8, 5 and then 8 in the last game). After tonight, the Rangers are playing two games @NYI this weekend and then the next four games are all against the Devils.
Ballpoint pen way ahead: This is the fourth of six games on a road trip for the Pens and tonight a back-to-back game begins with tomorrow’s game against the Devils. Pittsburgh remains in New Jersey for Sunday night’s game against the Devils to complete the trip. And then … a wonderful three-day break lasts until next Thursday (4/14).
Season series: Despite the blowout loss, it was already a successful season for the Pens against the Rangers. Pittsburgh are 5-2-0 against NYR this season (with NYR 2-3-2 from their point of view). The Pens defeated the Rangers 4-3 in the shootout on January 22nd, with Kris Letang scoring the deciding goal. Pittsburgh defeated NYR 3-2 on January 24 when Jake Guentzel scored late in the third half to give the Pens the W. Sidney Crosby. On January 30th, W. Sidney Crosby scored the OT winner and secured a 5-4 win. The Rangers hit back and won 3-1 on February 1st. Pittsburgh followed with a 5-1 win on March 7th and a 4-2 win at Pens on March 9th at the Burgh. Tuesday for chapter seven was a resounding 8-4 Rangers win.
Recent history: The last game that didn’t stand up was Pens doing very well for the Rangers lately, playing 9-2-3 against the Blueshirts in the last 13 games. Expand it further and Pittsburgh is 13-4-3 against NYR in the last 20 competitions between the two teams.
SBN team counterpart: Check out Blueshirt Banter for the latest news on the Rangers.
Player statistics at a glance
– Mika Zibanejad’s great run lately continued on Tuesday with a goal and assist against the pins. When he scores, he usually comes in groups, including not just one but two games of three goals and six points in the last month.
– Ryan Strome has also become one of the most productive players that nobody really talks about very often. The Islanders’ earlier fifth overall win in 2011 struggled to find its place, jumping a bit between NYI, Edmonton and the Rangers but found a home in Manhattan. He achieved a career high of 59 points last season. Most likely, only the shortened season will keep him from hitting a new high this year.
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Pavel Buchnevich
Artemi Panarin – Ryan Strome – Colin Blackwell
Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko
Vitaly Kravtsov – Kevin Rooney – Phil Di Giuseppe
Ryan Lindgren / Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller / Jacob Oven
Libor Hajek / Brendan Smith
Starting goalkeeper: Igor Shesterkin?
Scratch: Brett Howden, Julien Gauthier
– The Rangers have not announced a starting goalkeeper but Backup Alexandar Georgiev has not played since March 19. You are currently driving Shesterkin and after a win there is no need to stop now.
And now for the pens ..
Jake Güntzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker – Jared McCann – Evan Rodrigues
Zach Aston-Reese – Frederick Gaudreau – Sam Lafferty
I work Zohorna – Mark Jankowski – Colton Sceviour
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Mike Matheson / Cody Ceci
Marcus Pettersson / John Marino
Possible starting goalkeeper:?
Scratches: Juuso Riikola, Chad Ruhwedel, Brandon Tanev
IR: Evgeni Malkin, Mark Friedman, Teddy Blueger and Kasperi Kapanen
Taxi squad: Yannick Weber, Emil Larmi, Josh Currie, Anthony Angello
– Teddy Blueger trained with Kontakt again yesterday but, according to coach Mike Sullivan, he hasn’t been cleared for a game as of Wednesday. We’ll see if that changes now, he’s sure to get closer.
– John Marino was out of training after injuring the third period with an injury but was classified as a “Maintenance Day” by Sullivan. That usually means his status should be available tonight, but it’s worth checking out to be sure.
– Jake Guentzel now has a goal in each of his last seven street games.
– The Pens haven’t announced a starting goalkeeper either, but there’s likely a good case to get Tristan Jarry back into the game and see if he can get back on track on Tuesday after his injury and a difficult first phase.
Attack from defense
The group of pens-consumed strikers has meant they need their defense to be more offensive. From the pens PR:
Pittsburgh scored goals from defenders Brian Dumoulin and Mike Matheson on Tuesday as the team have received consistent contributions from their Blueliners this season. Matheson’s target was his fourth goal of the season, which put him second among the Penguins defenders. He also expanded his points streak to four games in a row (2G-3A) and linked his career from November 30, 2018 to December 6, 2018 (1G-3A).
The Penguins now have 19 goals from defenders this season, and their next one will make them the seventh team this season to score more than 20 goals from their Blueliners. Fifteen percent (19/127) of the team’s goals that season were scored by their defenders.