Winners of four in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins welcome the New York Rangers to PPG Paints arena for their second meeting of the year and Pittsburgh’s second of five straight home games, also a season long.
The Rangers (14-10-2, 30 points) come to town having won seven of their last ten games and find themselves five points out of first place in the Metro Division. They will, however, be without the services of their leading scorer, Mika Zibanejad, who is suffering from a concussion.
In the Rangers’ last game, they spotted the Carolina Hurricanes a 1-0 first period lead before scoring the next goal and final five to run away with a 5-1 win Friday night at MSG.
Even with Zibanejad out, Michael Grabner leads the team in goals with 13, and he is typically prone to score against the Penguins going back to his days as a New York Islander. His hat-trick against Carolina helped lead the way.
With familiar foe Henrik Lundqvist expected in net, the Rangers will be looking to avenge a 5-4 OT loss to Pittsburgh back in mid-October. That contest saw Sidney Crosby tie it late from down below the goal line, and Evgeni Malkin turn out the lights in the extra session from Lundqvist’s door step.
Lundqvist is 13-6-0 on the season with a 2.66 goals against average.
On the Penguins side of the ledger, Matt Murray skated without pads before this morning’s skate, as he continues to recover from last week’s lower body injury.
In his place, Tristan Jarry has been excellent in being the next goalie up, picking up three wins last week and four straight wins in the same amount of appearances. With division games tonight and Thursday against the afore-mentioned Islanders, it will be interesting to see how Jarry handles the workload.
Sidney Crosby has 12 points in five games as he has assuredly snapped out of his season opening funk. His 29 points overall ranks second on the team behind Phil Kessel’s 33 points.
The game against a divisional opponent tonight is only the Pens fifth of the year so far.
Stay tuned tomorrow as I will have your complete recap of Rangers-Penguins from PPG Paints Arena.
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