Who: Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: The playoffs are a little different this year: if you’re in the Western PA area, you can watch the typical Pens broadcast on AT&T Sportsnet or you can watch the national coverage on ESPN, there is no local/national blackout. If you’re not in the local viewing area, the game is simply on ESPN. Pretty easy!
Opponent Track: The Rangers dropped three of the final four games of the regular season, but they did defeat Washington 3-2 in the last game of the year on Friday.
Pens Path Ahead: Game 2 in New York is just ahead on Thursday, then the series shifts to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and next Monday. All of these games will be 7:00pm starts.
Season Series: The Pens went 1-3-0 vs NYR this season. The lone Pittsburgh win, 1-0, came in the first meeting of the season on February 26th. The Rangers emphatically won 5-1 on March 25th and then hung on for a 3-2 win a few days later on March 29th. The final meeting was a 3-0 NYR win on April 7th.
Hidden Stat: The Penguins are 12-5 all-time in the postseason at Madison Square Garden (h/t Pens PR).
SBN Counterpart Blog: Blueshirt Banter
Trivia Question: Who are the three Penguin players currently on the roster who could be making their NHL playoff debut?
Monday Practice Lines
Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Frank Vatrano
Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Andrew Copp
Alexis Lafreniere - Filip Chytil - Kaapo Kakko
Dryden Hunt - Barclay Goodrow - Kevin Rooney
Ryan Lindgren / Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller / Jacob Trouba
Patrik Nemeth / Braden Schneider
Goalies: Igor Shesterkin (Alexandar Georgiev)
Scratches: Ryan Reaves, Julien Gauthier, Lauri Pajuniemi, Greg McKegg, Johnny Brodzinski, Tim Gettinger, Justin Braun, Nils Lundqvist, Zac Jones, Jarred Tinordi, Libor Hajek, Matthew Robertson, Keith Kinkaid
IR: Sammy Blais
—With the AHL Hartford team eliminated from playoffs the Rangers have called up a full taxi squad of players for the playoffs, thus why they have all those scratches.
—There’s a chance Ryan Reaves could be playing, but he could find himself as a scratch for this game.
In case you missed anything:
And from our friends at Blueshirt Banter:
And now for the Pens..
Monday Practice Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Danton Heinen - Evgeni Malkin - Rickard Rakell
Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen
Brian Boyle - Teddy Blueger - Evan Rodrigues
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / John Marino
Mike Matheson / Chad Ruhwedel
Goalies: Casey DeSmith (Louis Domingue)
Scratches: Mark Friedman, Tristan Jarry, Nathan Beaulieu, Jason Zucker, Drew O’Connor
—Lines have been the same for the Pens in their pre-playoff planning, so what we see above will be what they should be starting with in Game 1.
A bevy of random but interesting Crosby and Penguin stats, facts and nuggets for you (with some help from Pens PR):
- Sidney Crosby has 191 career playoff points, which ranks seventh all-time in NHL playoff scoring. He is five points away from tying Paul Coffey (196) for sixth place.
- Crosby’s 63 multi-point playoff games rank third all time.
- With one more playoff assist, Crosby will tie Jaromir Jagr (123) for ninth all-time.
- With one more playoff goal, Crosby will tie Steve Yzerman (70) for 11th all-time.
- Crosby is seven goals away from tying Mario Lemieux (76) for the Penguins’ franchise record of playoff goals in a career.
- In the 14 seasons Pittsburgh has had both Crosby and Malkin, they’ve advanced to the second round eight times.
- And they’ve been to the Conference Final round five times.
- Mike Sullivan has 41 Pittsburgh playoff wins, two shy of tying Dan Bylsma for most all-time by a Penguin coach.
- This will be the eighth Pittsburgh/New York Ranger playoff series. The only team the Pens have seen more in the playoffs are, unsurprisingly, the Washington Capitals (11 times). The Pens are 5-2 vs NYR with wins in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2008 and 2016. The Rangers won in 2014 and 2015.
Trivia Answer: Casey DeSmith, Mark Friedman and Drew O’Connor are the three Pittsburgh players that could be making their NHL playoff debuts this spring.