Who: New York Rangers (1-2-1, 4 points, 7th place Eastern Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (3-2-0, 6 points, 4th place in the Eastern Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in Pittsburgh, MSG+ in the greater New York area, and you can also catch it on ESPN+. In Canada, check SNE, SNO and SNP in Canada, which now I think they’re just making up initials for networks at this point
Opponent Track: The Rangers and Pens will meet next Saturday+Monday in Manhattan, but first the teams split after tonight for two games first. NYR goes to Buffalo for two games on Tuesday/Thursday.
Pens path ahead: The Pens leave town for games on Tuesday/Thursday in Boston and then the Penguins scoot down to NYC to play these same Rangers again next weekend in Madison Square Garden next Saturday (January 30th) and the following Monday (February 1st).
Season Series: The Pens won 4-3 in the shootout on Friday. After tonight and next week’s games, PIT/NYR don’t meet again until March 7+9, back in the Burgh and then the season series is scheduled to be completed on April 6+8 in NYC.
Recent History: The Pens have points in eight straight games versus NYR (5-0-3), and the Pens are 9-2-3 overall in its last 14 games versus the Rangers.
SBN Team Counterpart: Check out the banter over at Blueshirt Banter to learn more about the boys in blue
Player Stats at a Glance
—How about the early season flourish for Di Guiseppe? The 27-year old only had 45 points in 170 career NHL games coming into this season, but already has four points in just three games. Di Guiseppe made a great play to setup the Rangers’ first goal of the night on Friday and had an assist on NYR’s third goal as well, which helped him be named the #2 star of the night on Friday.
Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Alexis Lafreniere
Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Pavel Buchnevich
Phil Di Guiseppe - Filip Chytil - Kaapo Kakko
Brendan Lemieux - Brett Howden - Julien Gauthier
Ryan Lindgren / Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller / Jacob Trouba
Jack Johnson / Anthony DeAngelo
Expected starting goalie: Igor Shesterkin
Scratches: Kevin Rooney, Brendan Smith
Taxi Squad: Libor Hajek, Keith Kinkaid, Anthony Bitetto, Colin Blackwell
He said it
"It's part of our learning curve. We've got to understand when we're up 3-1, there's a certain way to play." - Coach Quinn pic.twitter.com/kQMrzWui7v— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 23, 2021
You would have to think if the Rangers take a lead that they will be stingier in efforts to hold onto it next time.
And now for the Pens..
Player stats at a glance
—Kasperi Kapanen is carrying a personal four game point streak against the Rangers.
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Evan Rodrigues
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Jared McCann - Mark Jankowski - Brandon Tanev
Colton Sceviour - Teddy Blueger - Kasperi Kapanen
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
John Marino / Cody Ceci
Pierre-Olivier Joseph / Chad Ruhwedel
Scratches: Juuso Riikola (upper body injury), Marcus Pettersson (upper body injury)
Expected starting goalie: Tristan Jarry
IR: Zach Aston-Reese, Mike Matheson
Taxi Squad: Alex D’Orio, Maxime Lagace, Sam Lafferty. Drew O’Connor, Kevin Czuczman
The Pens have been rockin’ and rollin’ lately at the friendly confines of PPG Paints Arena. Check out this nugget from Pens PR:
The Penguins are 10-3-1 their last 14 home games dating back to last season (Jan. 14, 2020). During that span, Sidney Crosby has amassed 27 points (7G-20A) in those 13 games. Since Jan 14, 2020, no NHL player has more points at home than Crosby’s 27.
3 keys to the game:
- Two weak PK’s. Pittsburgh is sporting the NHL’s 24th ranked penalty kill (as of Saturday afternoon) at just 73.7%. The Rangers are barely ahead of them at 75.0% and 23rd. Each team recorded a power play goal on Friday night, the Pens only had two opportunities (NYR had four). One team’s penalty kills could well prove to let them down in this game.
- Keep shots down. The Pens are last in the NHL with a .839 save% overall. The Rangers are currently second in the NHL with 35.0 shots/game. Tristan Jarry did well to make 31 saves on Friday night, but Pittsburgh is a team now that can’t really afford to give up 34, 35+ shots in the game and expect a
- Avoiding the hole. The Pens have been down at least two goals in 4 out of the 5 games so far this season. That is going to have to change if they want to keep building on their three game winning streak (two of which have come in the shootout).