Who: New York Rangers (18-10-5, 41 points, 3rd place Metropolitan Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (18-9-4, 40 points, 4th place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sports Network Pittsburgh (ATTSN-PT) for the Western PA market, MSG Network for the visitors, Sling TV, ESPN+
Opponent Track: After a mediocre 11-10-5 start, the Rangers are suddenly on fire. They have overstored opponents 32-14 while winning seven in a row, and they’ve racked up 13 goals in their last two games alone thanks to blowout wins in Philadelphia and Chicago.
Pens Path Ahead: The Penguins are up for a rematch against the Hurricanes when Carolina comes to PPG Paints Arena on Thursday. Next, they’ll get five days off for the holiday break before reconvening in Long Island on December 27 to take on the Islanders in a fourth consecutive divisional battle.
Season Series: This is the first time the Penguins and Rangers have met since Game 7 of the 2022 first round, when Artemi Panarin’s power-play goal five minutes into overtime completed the Rangers’ recovery from a 3-1 series deficit and killed the Penguins’ playoff hopes.
Getting to know the Rangers
SB Nation counterpart: Blueshirt Banter
Artemi Panarin - Mika Zibanejad - Barclay Goodrow
Alexis Lafreniere - Filip Chytil(?) - Kaapo Kakko
Chris Kreider - Vincent Trochek - Jimmy Vesey
Samuel Blais - Jonny Brudziński - Vitali Kravtsov
Ryan Lindgren / Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller / Jacob Trouba
Ben Harper / Braden Schneider
Goalies: Igor Shesterkin (Jaroslav Halak)
Scratches: Julien Gauthier, Libor Hajek
- The “kid line”— made up of former first-round picks Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko— has put up 17 points through the Rangers’ last seven games.
The Rangers' kid line is ROLLING pic.twitter.com/X0szdiGBJv— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) December 19, 2022
But this explosive second line suffered a potential blow on Sunday, when Chytil exited the game after a high hit from former Penguin Sam Lafferty.
Lafferty hit on Chytil pic.twitter.com/GjsRt2z82R— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) December 19, 2022
After the game, head coach Gerard Gallant called Chytil “day-to-day.” The Rangers will issue an update on Chytil’s status before the game today.
- Last time the Penguins saw Igor Shesterkin, he was making 39 saves and killing the Penguins’ hopes of winning Game 7. Now he has yet to lose in regulation on the road this season. Even worse for the Penguins, he’s hot right now— he has started six of the Rangers’ past seven victories and has a .939 save percentage over the stretch.
Igor Shesterkin extended his road point streak to 10 games dating to Oct. 13 (9-0-1). The @NYRangers goaltender has yet to lose a game in regulation as a visitor this season.#NHLStats: https://t.co/g9xmT1yb3L pic.twitter.com/UXuKh59T0K— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 19, 2022
And now for the Pens...
Potential Game Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Danton Heinen - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen
Ryan Poehling - Teddy Blueger - Josh Archibald (?)
Marcus Pettersson / Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin / Jan Rutta
P.O. Joseph / Chad Ruhwedel
Goalies: Tristan Jarry (Casey DeSmith)
Scratches: Drew O’Connor, Mark Friedman, Jason Zucker (week-to-week injury)
IR: Jeff Petry (upper body, LTIR, out until at least January 8th)
- Josh Archibald is being evaluated for a lower-body injury, Mike Sullivan said on Monday. If he is unable to go, Drew O’Connor will take his spot on the fourth line.
- Zucker practiced in a regular jersey on Monday, but is still week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
- Tristan Jarry, who will likely get the nod on Tuesday, is 10-0-2 in his last 12 starts. Meanwhile, Evgeni Malkin has points in eight straight games (2-10—12).
- As pointed out by Pens PR, few players have caused more damage to the New York Rangers than Sidney Crosby. He leads all active players with 61 assists and 98 points in 78 career games against the Rangers.
- Marcus Pettersson is quietly becoming an effective top-pairing partner for Letang:
This is Marcus Pettersson just casually performing in the 90+ percentile in offensive and defensive categories. No big deal.— Jesse Marshall (@jmarshfof) December 19, 2022
Card via @domluszczyszyn pic.twitter.com/7Dfnb4faE9