Penguins vs. Rangers Recreation 7 Preview: Traces, watch

Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (3-3) @ New York Rangers (3-3)

When: 7:00 pm Eastern

How to Watch: TBS, AT&T Sportsnet in the local regional viewing area, MSG Network for the Blueshirts

Opponent Track: The Rangers have turned a 2-0 Penguins lead into a 5-3 Rangers advantage in two consecutive games to tie the series.

Pens Path Ahead: Are the Penguins getting into painful offseason contract discussions, or are they gearing up to play the Carolina Hurricanes? Only the final score will tell.

Hidden Stat: The Penguins are 6-0 all time in Game 7 on the road, as per one Steve Mears.

SBN Counterpart Blog: Blueshirt Banter

Rangers Game 6 Lines

FORWARDS

Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Frank Vatrano

Artemi Panarin – Ryan Strome – Andrew Copp

Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko

Tyler Motte – Kevin Rooney – Ryan Reaves

DEFENSEMEN

Ryan Lindgren / Adam Fox

K’Andre Miller / Jacob Trouba

Justin Braun / Braden Schneider

Goals: Igor Shesterkin (Alexandar Georgiev)

Scratches: Patrik Nemeth, Johnny Brodzinski, Dryden Hunt, Julien Gauthier, Lauri Pajuniemi, Greg McKegg, Tim Gettinger, Nils Lundqvist, Zac Jones, Jarred Tinordi, Libor Hajek, Matthew Robertson, Keith Kinkaid, Barclay Goodrow (week-to-week)

IR: Sammy Blais

—The Rangers have made their previous two comebacks without Artemi Panarin exploding offensively. Mike Zibanejad, on the other hand, found his groove in Game 6.

—Defenseman Patrik Nemeth, who made some costly errors for the Rangers early in the series but was briefly their seventh defenseman, was scratched for Game 6 as Tyler Motte returned to the lineup for the first time in over a month.

—The Rangers ranked fourth in the NHL during the 2021-22 regular season on their power play (25.2%) and seventh on their penalty kill (82.3%.) They looked every bit that top-10 special team against the Penguins in Game 6 The Penguins need answers for both their penalty kill and their power play to retain a lead in Game 7.

And now for the Pens…

Penguins Projected*** Lines

Forwards

Jake Guentzel – Evgeni Malkin – Bryan Rust

Danton Heinen – Jeff Carter – Kasperi Kapanen

Jason Zucker – Teddy Blueger – Brock McGinn

Drew O’Connor – Evan Rodrigues – Radim Zohorna

Defense

Mike Matheson / Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson / John Marino

Mark Friedman / Chad Ruhwedel

Goals: Louis Domingue (Alex D’Orio)

Scratches: Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry (foot), Nathan Beaulieu, Rickard Rakell (day-to-day), Casey DeSmith (out for the season), Brian Dumoulin (day-to-day), Radim Zohorna

—Brian Boyle is being evaluated for a lower-body injury. If he is out and no other forwards return, we can expect Radim Zohorna to slot in for him on the fourth line, while Evan Rodrigues might slide over to center.

—Brian Dumoulin is not yet skating and is unlikely to play Game 7.

***Now for the triple asterisk.

We’ll assume, if no players return from injury, the Penguins will stick with their Game 6 lineup (potentially with Boyle out for Zohorna.)

But there have been rumblings at Saturday’s morning practice…

…during which Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry and Rickard Rakell all skated in regular (non-contact) jerseys.

“We’ll take each day as it comes. I’m not going to speculate at this point. They’re obviously on the ice. That’s encouragement. They’re making progress.” —head coach Mike Sullivan on the status of Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry and Rickard Rakell

“I think any time (Crosby’s) on the ice, I think it’s good for our team. It’s good for our players. It’s good for our morale. That’s certainly a boost for our guys.” —Sullivan

If these players return, Evgeni Malkin could shift back to the second line, potentially alongside Bryan Rust if Rickard Rakell slots in on Sidney Crosby’s wing. Tristan Jarry could be making his first start since April 14.

We won’t know the true likelihood of any of those options until closer to game time.

So now, all there is to ask is one final question:

Are you ready?

Leave a Comment