After a pretty "meh" 1-1-1 road trip last week, the Pittsburgh Penguins get back to home this Thanksgiving week for the first of a home-and-home with the 1st place New York Rangers(13-5-1).
The Rangers enter the game as a somewhat surprising offensive juggernaut. 4.0 goals per game in the first 19 games of the season leads the league. That's leading to a ton of numbers early - the Rangers already have 14 players with 10+ points this season. Pittsburgh, by comparison is 8th in the league at 2.83 goals/game and has just six players in double digits.
East Palestine Ohio's J.T. Miller is leading NYR with 17 points in 19 games, and free agent addition Michael Grabner has been excessively productive with 11 goals this season already, compared to 9 all of last season.
NYR lines from last night
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash
Jimmy Vesey - Mika Zibanejad** - Mats Zuccarello
J.T. Miller - Kevin Hayes - Michael Grabner
Brandon Pirri - Josh Jooris - Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonaugh / Dan Girardi
Marc Staal / Nick Holden
Brady Skjei / Kevin Klein
Tonight's lines will be different than last, since Zibanejad has suffered a broken leg last night and is out 6-8 weeks, a tough break (no pun) since their offseason addition has 5 goals, a tied for team high 10 assists so far on the season. Hayes (16 points) could be a candidate to take the 2nd line center job. Oscar Lindberg was the healthy scratch last night and figures to get in the lineup.
Henrik Lundqvist did play in last night's 3-2 shootout loss, but NYR has a habit of often using The King in back-to-back situations, where he does perform better generally than most goalies on the back-end of playing two games in two days.
The two teams will meet up again Wednesday in Madison Square Garden.
Penguins lines from practice today
#Pens lines:— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) November 21, 2016
Hornqvist skated on his own before.
Jake Guenztel looks scheduled to make his NHL debut being as Chris Kunitz will miss his first game of the season (and unfortunately more than that) now that he's been announced as having a "week to week lower body injury".
Marc-Andre Fleury was the first goalie off the ice in the morning skate, usually indicative of which goalie will play.