Who: New York Rangers (1-1) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1-1)
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: This game will be on TNT everywhere in America (even in local markets). But if you get the AT&T Sportsnet channel and want to listen to Steve Mears and Bob Errey, you can do that this round too. The game is also on the radio at the Pens’ official partner WXDX (105.9 FM).
Opponent Track: After the Rangers suffered a 1-1 split in New York, they will be looking to take back home-ice advantage by claiming a win in Pittsburgh.
Pens Path Ahead: Game 4 at PPG Paints Arena will take place Monday at 7pm. Game 5 will be Wednesday, again at 7pm, at Madison Square Garden.
Hidden Stat: The Penguins’ Game 2 loss was a predictable one— of the last 10 playoff games which went to three overtimes or later, the winner has recorded a 2-8 record in the following game, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
SBN Counterpart Blog: Blueshirt Banter
Game 2 Lines
Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Frank Vatrano
Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Andrew Copp
Alexis Lafreniere - Filip Chytil - Kaapo Kakko
Dryden Hunt - Kevin Rooney - Ryan Reaves
K’Andre Miller / Jacob Trouba
Justin Braun / Adam Fox
Patrik Nemeth / Braden Schneider
Goalies: Igor Shesterkin (Alexandar Georgiev)
Scratches: Julien Gauthier, Lauri Pajuniemi, Greg McKegg, Johnny Brodzinski, Tim Gettinger, Nils Lundqvist, Zac Jones, Jarred Tinordi, Libor Hajek, Matthew Robertson, Keith Kinkaid, Ryan Lindgren (game-time decision), Barclay Goodrow (week-to-week)
IR: Sammy Blais
—Dryden Hunt will sub in for Barclay Goodrow, who was listed as week-to-week after a Game 1 injury.
—Because of Ryan Lindgren’s injury, 2021 Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox was shuffled to the second pairing Thursday. He still ranked second only to Jacob Trouba in ice time, partially because of his time spent on the power play, where he registered an assist on Thursday.
Pittsburgh vs. Shesterkin
The Money Puck “Deserve To Win O’Meter” gave the Penguins a 57.7% edge Thursday. The biggest difference between the two teams was, as expected, Shesterkin. Again from Money Puck:
This is not to say Domingue has performed badly. He snatched some highlight-reel saves out of the air with his right glove hand Thursday to help keep the Penguins in Game 2 to the point where Sidney Crosby’s late second-period goal looked like a threat to tie.
Domingue with quite the save on Zibanejad. pic.twitter.com/9d2NcceeWI— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) May 5, 2022
But in the end, Domingue is a third-string goaltender, not a Vezina Trophy candidate. It will be up to the Penguins’ defense to make up the difference.
The magic of matchup control
Now the series has headed to PPG Paints Arena, and the onus to control matchups is on Mike Sullivan. This could give the Penguins the chance to exploit some weaknesses in the Rangers’ lineup, especially if the continued absence of Ryan Lindgren (he will be a game-time decision for Game 3) weakens the bottom of their defensive structure.
It also will give Sullivan the chance to counter the Rangers’ “Kids’ Line” (Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko) who were more effectively shut down Thursday thanks to nearly constant matchups with the Penguins’ top two lines.
And now for the Pens..
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Danton Heinen - Evgeni Malkin - Kasperi Kapanen
Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Evan Rodrigues
Brian Boyle - Teddy Blueger - Drew O’Connor
Mike Matheson / Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / John Marino
Mike Friedman / Chad Ruhwedel
Goalies: Louis Domingue (Alex D’Orio)
Scratches: Tristan Jarry (still rehabbing, not yet skating), Nathan Beaulieu, Rickard Rakell (day-to-day), Casey DeSmith (out for the season), Brian Dumoulin (day-to-day), Jason Zucker (day-to-day)
—Jason Zucker will be a game-time decision for Game 3. Both Brian Dumoulin and Rickard Rakell are day-to-day.
—Dumoulin has struggled this season, but his absence was detrimental Thursday; the Penguins are a better team when their two most offensive-minded defensemen (Matheson and Letang) are on separate lines.
Goodbye, Casey DeSmith
What is there to say but, “Ouch.”
Coach Sullivan has announced that Casey DeSmith had successful core muscle surgery this morning. He will be unavailable for the remainder of the playoffs.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 6, 2022
Get well soon, Casey.
Tristan Jarry is continuing to rehab, but has not yet started skating. What could go wrong, when you’re putting your third-string goaltender up against a Vezina candidate?
Wanted: Secondary scoring
Of the five even-strength goals the Penguins have scored so far this offseason, four have come from the Sidney Crosby line. The only piece of secondary scoring came via Evgeni Malkin in triple overtime on Tuesday.
If the Penguins are going to a contend in such a lopsided goaltending matchup, they are going to need goals. We’ve seen some impressive looks from the likes of Danton Heinen and Kasperi Kapanen, and even playoff rookie Drew O’Connor hit the post on Thursday.
If the Penguins’ bottom six manages to mark the scoreboard on Saturday, it will change the outlook of this series. There’s only so long the entire team can depend on Sidney Crosby to generate offense through sheer willpower alone.
no really this turns into a sidney crosby goal pic.twitter.com/lxMcLCDhyh— Benstonium (@Benstonium) May 6, 2022
Hidden stat, part II: Since the Penguins last won the Stanley Cup, the team has been led in playoff offense by Jake Guentzel, who so far has scored three goals in two games this postseason. As per Pens PR: