When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in the Pittsburgh viewing area, MSG
Streaming: Also being told NHL.tv is free for the rest of the regular season, though apparently it isn’t no strings attached you might have to sign up or register for something
Opponent Track: The Rangers look ready for the season to be over, they’re 0-2-1 in the last three games and have only won three of their last 10., They should also be a bit more tired being as they played a 3-2 shootout loss last night to Columbus in their home finale. Though NYR did force OT with a Pavel Buchnevich goal with seven seconds left in the third period and rookie goalie Alexandar Georgiev made 39 saves on 41 shots, so they haven’t totally punched out.
Pens Refresh: Pittsburgh officially clinched their ticket to the dance in Game 81 with a 4-1 win over Detroit in a game that saw Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang make their triumphant returns from injury.
Season Series: The Pens have won all three matchups this season against NYR. Most recently on March 25th was a 5-2 win in the Garden. The Pens won 6-5 in Pittsburgh on February 17th and also 7-2 in MSG on January 2nd.
That’s a three game average of a monstrous six goals per game for Pittsburgh, the limited and rebuilding Ranger defense just has had no match for the Pens’ offensive skill this season.
SBN Team Counterpart: Blueshirt Banter
Player Stats at a Glance
Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich
Brendan Lemieux - Ryan Strome - Vladislav Namestnikov
Jimmy Vesey - Brett Howden - Vinni Lettieri
Lias Andersson - Connor Brickley
Marc Staal / Anthony DeAngelo
Brady Skjei / Kevin Shattenkirk
Ryan Lindgren / Neal Pionk
—It’ll be interesting to see if it’s Henrik Lundqvist to see out the season after, as mentioned, Georgiev played 65 minutes last night. Lundqvist only has 2 wins since the beginning of February, and he’s winless in his last six starts, dating back to March 9th. He’s also only played three games since March 20th
Lundqvist has only played once against the Pens this season and he was dreadful giving up 6 goals on 18 shots and getting pulled after 44 minutes. In some ways it seems weird not to use the face of the franchise for the home finale to give him and the fans one more chance to see him play there (and in a fun role to try and play spoiler to CBJ’s hopes) instead of marching him out on the b-2-b against a Pens team that has just lit him up these past few years.
More on the King
Blueshirt Banter waxing philosophical about how The King really won’t be still The King whenever this slow rebuild is completed
There is no “next year” to say anymore, because next year doesn’t bring us hope but another step closer to a time without Lundqvist. In what will be one of the biggest black stains on the Original Six organization’s history, the sad reality of Lundqvist retiring/leaving the team without a Stanley Cup to his name will be one of the worst. To let a generational goaltender ply his craft for a decade without the hardware is almost too much to believe. To have one of the best goalies to ever play the position not get a ring is a tragedy.
Looking back, it does look like the Rangers squandered some prime years from 2010-15 when the Pens were floundering and the Capitals hadn’t figured it out yet. Boston was pretty good in that mini-era but for NYR to come up empty handed with the team they had and the way the East was is a tough one to take. Los Angeles and Chicago in those days ended up being the cream of the crop.
And now for the Penguins...
Check the game notes, eh bud?
Jared McCann - Sidney Crosby - Jake Guentzel
Bryan Rust - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel
Dominik Simon - Nick Bjugstad - Patric Hornqvist
Teddy Blueger - Matt Cullen- Garrett Wilson
Olli Maatta / Kris Letang
Jack Johnson / Justin Schultz
Marcus Pettersson / Erik Gudbranson
Expected scratches: Chad Ruhwedel (upper-body injury), Zach Aston-Reese (hip), Brian Dumoulin, Zach Trotman
-No Dumoulin at practice yesterday so he most likely is out again, saving a potential defenseman logjam question for the playoffs.
Key to the game
Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er: NYR just played last night. Traveled too. This is the end of their road and season. The Pens have put up 18 goals on them in three games so far this season. No reason not to bombard and overwhelm this defense that can’t stop them when they’re in top form. Pittsburgh gets one more tune up for the playoffs and has something to play for too, to ensure they won’t draw Washington in the first round.