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Penguins at Rangers Preview: Here We Go Again

The Pens and Rangers meet for round three of the week.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Marcus Pettersson vs. New York Rangers' Artemi Panarin
Photo by Michelle Farsi/NHLI via Getty Images.

It's a Saturday Night Live in New York for the Pittsburgh Penguins! They're facing the Rangers for the final time of the 2022-23 regular season and attempting to win both the season series (2-1) and this week's three-game miniseries (1-1) tonight. The next time these teams could potentially meet would in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the upcoming months.

When last they left off, New York finally defeated Pittsburgh for the first time this year on Thursday, 4-2, in a lethargic effort for the majority of the Pens. You can review their performance in that game through analytics charts in our "Stat Recap" HERE.

That last meeting will have implications for this one as it appears defenseman Jeff Petry was injured during the game. Petry did not practice yesterday and the team reported he was being "evaluated" for an unnamed issue.

The Penguins have a second mystery defenseman who their personnel moves suggest is also now sidelined in addition to Petry too.

Earlier this morning they sent for Mark Friedman as an emergency recall from the minor leagues. The Penguins had to know for certain they were facing playing a man down to be eligible to use an emergency player promotion but they already have reserve D-man Chad Ruhwedel with the team. Doing some simple math that means two players on defense are injured and cannot go tonight against New York.

The second mystery man who is hurt could have some big implications beyond just the lack of a regular skater. That player is most likely number one defenseman Kris Letang who took a maintenance day off from practice yesterday. The practice rest was simply purported to be due to his heavy workload but these roster moves now suggest it may be a deeper issue. Head Coach Mike Sullivan will give a press briefing at 6 PM (ET) to address this game, the current status of these players, and who is officially out. That should fill in some of the unknowns in this situation. (Follow us on Twitter @PensReport for live updates of that as it happens.)

The Penguins face a steep uphill climb ahead of them considering these new developments. They will be missing two of their key big-minute defensemen against this very aggressive Rangers offense that just defeated them while they had their fully healthy roster. It's not an ideal competitive scenario to face the immediate rematch lacking two mainstays.

This game is being broadcast on network TV on ABC nationally so the spotlight is on too. It's always a fierce battle against New York and with the chips already being down before the puck drops, a lot of Pens' depth players are going to have to step up in order to secure victory. Tonight will take nothing short of a total team effort by the Penguins.

Game Info:

Pens Game #69: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers

Date: March 18, 2023

Time: 8 PM (ET)

Place: New York, NY

Venue: Madison Square Garden

Social Media Hashtags #: #LetsGoPens #NYR

Broadcast Info:

National Broadcast: ABC

Online Stream: ESPN+

Penguins Radio: 105.9 The X/Penguins Radio Network

Rangers Radio: WEPN

Team Matchup:

Records- PIT: 34-24-10, NYR: 39-19-10

Last 10- PIT: 6-3-1, NYR: 6-3-1

Streaks- PIT: 2 Losses, NYR: 2 Wins

Standings- PIT: 15th, NYR: 7th

Points- PIT: 78, NYR: 88

Playoff Positions-

PIT: Eastern Conference #7, 1st Wildcard playoff spot.

NYR: Eastern Conference #5, 3rd Metro playoff spot.

Season Series- 2-1 PIT

Series Goals For- PIT: 8, NYR: 8

Team Analytics Comparison:

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers
Analytics by JFresh Hockey.

Goalie Matchup:

Projected starting goalies:

-Tristan Jarry- #35

[Pittsburgh Penguins]

Bio Info: 6' 2", 194 lbs. DOB: 4/29/1995 (27). From: Surrey, BC.

Drafted: 2013- Rd 2, Pk 44 (PIT). Experience: 7th Season.

Record: 20-8-6, 2.96 GAA, .910 SV%

Career vs. NYR: 8-6-0, 2.75 GAA, .905 SV%


-Igor Shesterkin- #31

[New York Rangers]

Bio Info: 6' 2", 182 lbs. DOB: 12/30/1995 (26). From: Moscow, Russia.

Drafted: 2014- Rd 4, Pk 118 (NYR). Experience: 4th Season.

Record: 31-11-7, 2.63 GAA, .910 SV%

Career vs. PIT: 6-4-1, 2.19 GAA, .922 SV%

Penguins Update:

For fill-in duties expected Chad Ruhwedel and Mark Friedman to both potentially join the penalty-killing units as they each have experience playing there for the Pens in the past. And look for P.O. Joseph to hop into the top powerplay quarterback role without Kris Letang and Jeff Petry available. The Pens do not have another experienced hand on the roster to QB the second unit, but Marcus Pettersson would be the best fit of the remaining defensemen stylistically to do so and has been tried on the powerplay in short spans before now.

In more injury news, Nick Bonino (lacerated kidney) was placed on Long Term Injured Reserve so the Penguins would have the cap space available to recall Friedman. That means Bonino now is not eligible to return to play until April 4th at the earliest due to the rules of the LTIR designation.

-2022-23 Team Leaders vs. Rangers-

Goals: Rickard Rakell- 2.

Assists: Sidney Crosby- 5.

Points: Sidney Crosby- 6.

Plus/Minus: Mikael Granlund, Marcus Pettersson- +1.

PIM: Marcus Pettersson- 8 PIM.

Shots: Jake Guentzel- 13.

Hits: Kris Letang- 11.

Blocks: Marcus Pettersson- 9.

Takeaways: Brian Dumoulin- 4.

Faceoff%: Jeff Carter- 64.1%.

-Injury Report-

-Nick Bonino (F): LTIR, lacerated kidney, out until 4/4.

-Dmitry Kulikov (D): LTIR, lower body, out until 4/6.

-Pens Lines-

The projected Penguins lines for Saturday, March 18, 2023, at the New York Rangers:


Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust

Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Alex Nylander

Drew O’Connor - Mikael Granlund - Rickard Rakell

Ryan Poehling - Jeff Carter - Josh Archibald


*Pairings TBD, since two regulars are out.

(Special Teams)

PP1: *TBD, Malkin, Crosby, Rakell, Guentzel

PP2: *TBD, Zucker, Rust, Granlund, Carter

PK1: Carter, Archibald, Dumoulin, *TBD

PK2: Granlund, Rust, Pettersson, Rutta

Rangers Update:

Ryan Lindgren could potentially return tonight for New York, Rangers Head Coach Gerrard Gallant suggested there was a "better chance not [sic]" that he'll play.

-2022-23 Rangers Team Leaders vs. Penguins-

Goals: Chris Kreider- 5.

Assists: Vincent Trocheck- 5.

Points: Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck- 5.

Plus/Minus: Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck- -4.

PIM: 8 way tie- 2 PIM.

Shots: Chris Kreider- 11.

Hits: K’Andre Miller- 12.

Blocks: Jacob Trouba- 9.

Takeaways: Adam Fox- 7.

Faceoff%: Vincent Trocheck- 60.7%.

-Injury Report-

-Ryan Lindgren (D): upper body, game time decision.

For The Penguins: Sidney Crosby. He's baaacckk! Sid's here to dominate the spotlight once again with yet another scoring streak. Crosby has points in six straight games, 10 points in all. He's scored in every meeting with NYR this season and has two-point games in each of the last two games played vs. the Rangers. So he's coming into this game with four points against them in the last seven days alone. Sid certainly likes being a factor against New York. You can expect Crosby to put on a repeat performance with this Saturday night national network TV showcase game as his stage.

For The Rangers: Chris Kreider. Kreider matches Crosby step for step in this rivalry. He, like Sid, has that same knack for the opposing team. Kreider has scored in every Penguins and Rangers game in 2022-23. And had a two-goal game against Pittsburgh on Thursday. He leads New York in points and goals (5) vs. the Pens this season as well. If the Penguins don't keep a keen eye on Chris Kreider they'll end up with a couple of pucks in the back of their net for certain.


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