Rangers at Penguins … It’s Go Time!

Game 20

Rangers at Penguins -7:00 PM MSG

Tonight is the first leg of a home and home between the Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.  This is the first time these teams will meet since the Penguins unceremoniously dispatched of the Rangers in the first round of last year’s playoffs in 5 games en route to winning the Stanley Cup.

I will be watching this game on  bit of a delay as I have to go to my son’s parent-teacher converence first. Clearly, this is an HAV.

Tonight’s probable lineup for the Rangers (13-5-1), via Steve Zipay (@stevezipay):

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

Jimmy Vesey-Kevin Hayes-Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner-Brandon Pirri-J.T. Miller

Oscar Lindberg-Josh Jooris-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Nick Holden

Brady Skjei-Kevin Klein

The big news of course is Mika Zibanejad breaking his fibula during the overtime period of last night’s shootout loss to the Panthers.  Kevin Hayes moves up to his spot on the second line, Brandon Pirri moves up to Kevin Hayes’ spot on the third line, and Oscar “the Machine” Lindberg gets to take penalties in Brandon Pirri’s spot on the fourth line.

Pavel Buchnevich had an MRI today for his back spasms.  The test determined that there were no structural issues, but Buchnevich will need a two to three week program to “strengthen his core.”  Your guess is as good as mine, but it sounds as if he should be able to recover and help boost a rapidly depleting forwards corps. That depth was helped a bit, I suppose, with today’s claim of Matt Puempel off of waivers from the Ottawa Senators. I’m still skeptical, though, as it seems he has struggled mightily at the NHL level.

The defense remains unchanged, so Clendening remains Prucha’d for a third straight game. I still disagree with this arrangement. Skjei should be playing more often, not less.

As I had suggested last night, Antti Raanta gets the start given  AV’s traditional practice of switching goaltenders in the second game of a back to back with travel in between.

For the Penguins, (11-4-3), injuries to Patrick Honrqvist and Chris Kunitz are testing their forward depth. The Penguins have called up Jake Guentzel, a 2013 3rd round pick taken in between Buchnevich and Anthony Duclair.  Guentzel has been very good in the AHL this season, with 17 points (7-10-16) in 16 games. He will play on the second line with Malkin and Kessel. Not too shabby for your NHL debut. Marc-Andre Fleury gets the start.

Don’t forget to tell everyone you know and to follow me on Twitter @rangersreport2. And don’t forget to vote for your three stars after the game!

185 thoughts on “Rangers at Penguins … It’s Go Time!”

  1. I can only repeat my post in previous thread:
    November 21, 2016 at 6:29 PM
    I’m not defeatist. Not at all. But I have a bad gut’s feeling of Rangers meltdown tonight. Will take any reasonable punishment if I’m wrong. Gladly.
    Than go back to my grotto…

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  2. If the Rangers don’t come back tonight, then they will lose the return match in New York, which means they’ll have no chance against the Flyers, a loss that will kick off a ten-game losing streak, resulting, weeks later, in the earliest mathematical elimination from the playoffs in modern NHL history. AV will be fired in February and Gorton by March. The franchise will officially fold over the summer.

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  3. I posted the other day on this site before the columbus game that the rangers were going to lose four in a row. I said that because I didn’t like what I was watching and so far I’m on track. I would love to be wrong.

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  4. I’m all alone on the ledge except for Eric, who’s drawing up a probability chart for all the different ways the Rangers can lose this by four g… what’s that, E.? Sorry, five goals.

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  5. It would be nice to score another…please. Because, when the shy hope is raising… it’s very painful to ruin it.

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  6. Wick, sorry, you did just been studying all day and now seem to be coming down with a cold. I was only being partially facetious this morning. I wouldn’t disagree with any of those upgrades. Jay is good. She just doesn’t like the sharp turn of the weather up here in North Jersey. 2″ of frozen snow isn’t exactly something I’d want to squat in either : /

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  7. Sorry, I was wrong for not to believing in my depleting team. Mea culpa. Not going to happened again. …and again …and again.

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  8. “Biggest regular season win in the last decade” best comment in the last one hundred years. Is tonight one of those Miller, Hayes, Whoever kind of nights? McDonuts was skating well…

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  9. Very nice win! Fun game to watch…always happy for Raanta …our prospect goalies continue to do well…Shestyorkin best in the KHL, Huska with a win vs #4 Boston U, Tyler Wall also impressing already

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  10. Raanta earned it after a hideous first goal against. JT played a good game and Skjei continues to impress. Those are my 3.

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  11. Ok I admit I was wrong Rangers win I’m shocked! But who was in net our # 1 Goalie? I will have to watch the NHL Network replay tomorrow since I don’t get the game live down here in St Pete. Man I hate the dirty birds! James G I agree as Carp would say Onions Game!

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  12. I like the Klein vs Crosby match up. Kudos to double bubble for that. Klein did a good job vs Crosby.

    Most passion I’ve seen the rangers play with all season. Nice to see some chippy, big boy pants play.

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  13. The comments during the first period were very funny. Even the Panther fan was back pretending to be aRanger fan. Figured he would be back after the shootout victory for his side.

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  14. If we get healthy and fully loaded after Jan 1, we’re going to be tough to handle all Spring. Love to see Nieves earn a spot, but where? I can see AV spot starting him for JT when JT is grounded

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