Rangers vs. Penguins Preview: March Miniseries
The Pens and Rangers face a span of three meetings in a week starting Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Welcome to the new look Pens Report, just like NHL teams at the trade deadline we've made some recent changes in preparation for the playoffs and beyond. We hope you like our updated aesthetic, expanded content, and soon new writers and special projects! Stay tuned for more on that in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, get ready for today's game with our usual Pens preview then take a look around our new site afterward too!:
A mid-March, playoff-like miniseries begins on Sunday for the Penguins and Rangers. They'll meet three times this week starting today in Pittsburgh and finishing with two games in New York on Thursday and Saturday. The overall season series record is currently 1-0 Penguins after they beat NYR in a thrilling, tightly contested match in December by a score of 3-2. This three-game set is certain to bring a similar atmosphere especially as both teams have the playoffs in their sights and are battling for the best placement in the standings.
These two franchises are familiar foes but they come into this meeting with new reinforcements, changing the look of this storied matchup. Both clubs were extremely active at the trade deadline each adding multiple players and they will now face off for the first time with their new recruits.
New York added a pair of star forwards in the hopes of advancing further into the post-season this spring. They brought in former multiple Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Kane. And also added Vladimir Tarasenko, the Russian sniper and another veteran Cup champion from the Blues. In their new home with the Rangers, both players have already begun to produce. Kane has two goals and three points in his first four games as a Blueshirt and has just started revving up recently with goals in two straight. Tarasenko has played 14 games with New York and has scored four goals and five assists in that time.
Meanwhile, the Penguins have their own new guns. Mikael Granlund and Dmitry Kulikov will make their debuts against New York for the Pens today. Alex Nylander is another recent addition to the Pens' lineup, although he's been in the team's system for some time. All three players have recently scored their first points as Penguins. Kulikov and Granlund both made that milestone against the Flyers yesterday, while Nylander got his first Pens point on Tuesday against Columbus. The other recent trade addition and second-time Penguin, Nick Bonino, is sidelined for this game against the Rangers though. He'll be out for the rest of the near future too. There's more on that in our "Penguins Update" below.
Get to know these new Penguins ahead of the game in our New Pen Profiles series here:
-"Mikael Granlund: The New Finnish Forward" profile.
-"Dmitry Kulikov: From Lipetsk With Love" profile.
-"Alex Nylander: The Other Brother" profile.
(You already know Nick Bonino fairly well, don't you?)
Now on to the game details...
Pens Game #66: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers
Date: March 12, 2023
Time: 4 PM (ET)
Place: Pittsburgh, PA
Venue: PPG Paints Arena
Social Media Hashtags #: #LetsGoPens #NYR
National Broadcast: TNT
Canadian Broadcast: SN360, TVAS
Penguins Radio: 105.9 The X/Penguins Radio Network
Rangers Radio: WEPN
Records- PIT: 32-22-10, NYR: 37-19-9
Last 10- PIT: 6-3-1, NYR: 4-5-1
Streaks- PIT: 1 Win, NYR: 2 Wins
Standings- PIT: 14th, NYR: 8th
Points- PIT: 76, NYR: 83
Season Series- 1-0 PIT
Series Goals For- PIT: 3, NYR: 2
Team Analytics Comparison:
Projected starting goalies:
-Tristan Jarry- #35
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: 19-7-6, 2.89 GAA, .912 SV%
Career vs. NYR: 7-5-0, 2.79 GAA, .902 SV%
-Jaroslav Halak- #41
[New York Rangers]
Bio Info: 5' 11", 185 lbs. DOB: 5/13/1985 (37). From: Bratislava, Slovakia.
Drafted: 2003- Rd 9, Pk 271 (MIN). Experience: 17th Season.
Record: 8-8-2, 2.80 GAA, .900 SV%
Career vs. PIT: 13-10-2, 2.65 GAA, .914 SV%
Nick Bonino is a Penguin once again and in true Penguins' tradition he's the new name on the never-ending list of team injuries. Bonino is out week-to-week due to a lacerated kidney sustained against the Islanders on Thursday when he was hit by the puck. That freak injury is just the latest in the endless run of physical bad luck for the Pens’ players this season.
Mikael Granlund scored his first goal as a Penguin in the win over the Flyers as mentioned aboved. He also got his first assist as a Pen and his first two-point game all in one night.
Speaking of Granlund, his new-look third line alongside Rickard Rakell and Drew O'Connor was an instant success on Saturday. They produced two goals (Granlund and Rakell), three points, and were a combined +5 on the day.
Congrats to Coach Sullivan on his 400th NHL victory achieved yesterday against the Flyers. "Sully" became the 11th fastest coach in NHL history to reach that #400 mark by doing so in just 736 games.
-Nick Bonino (F): lacerated kidney, week-to-week.
-Ryan Poehling (F): LTIR, upper body, out until 3/14.
The projected Penguins lines for Sunday, March 12, 2023, vs. the New York Rangers:
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Alex Nylander
Drew O’Connor - Mikael Granlund - Rickard Rakell
Danton Heinen - Jeff Carter - Josh Archibald
Marcus Pettersson - Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin - Jeff Petry
Dmitry Kulikov - Jan Rutta
PP1: Malkin, Crosby, Guentzel, Rakell, Letang
PP2: Carter, Rust, Zucker, Granlund, Petry
PK1: Carter, Archibald, Dumoulin, Petry
PK2: Granlund, Rust, Kulikov, Rutta
New York, like Pittsburgh, is also coming into this game on the second half of a back-to-back set after beating the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1, on Saturday. Buffalo pushed them into overtime however, putting the endurance advantage in the Penguins' favor both in fewer minutes played and in less travel as the home team.
The Rangers are almost completely healthy, so they'll be rolling their full roster on Sunday. Tyler Motte returned from injury for them against Buffalo and Ryan Lindgren is likely available to play today after practicing yesterday while rehabbing from an upper-body injury.
Number one goalie Igor Shesterkin started Saturday's game so Rangers' back-up Jaroslav Halak is expected to take the net today against the Pens.
One of the most dangerous assets the Rangers have is their power play, it's the seventh-best in the league and recently got the infusion of Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko, two world-class snipers. The Pens' penalty kill is going to need to play at its peak. Even better than relying on their PK, Pittsburgh could try to reduce the number of costly penalties they've been giving up in recent games.
-Ryan Lindgren (D): upper body, day to day/game-time decision.
For The Penguins: Jason Zucker. "Big bucks Zuck" is undoubtedly playing his best hockey as a Penguin right now. Zucker has four goals in the last three games and has scored in six of the last seven games overall (eight goals total). His performance in this key pre-playoff stretch has been nearly unparalleled in the league, only Connor McDavid (12) has more goals than Zucker's 10 since February 17th.
For The Rangers: Chris Kreider. Kreider led New York in goals in the Penguins-Rangers Round One playoff series last spring and he picked up right where he left off in 2022-23. In the first meeting of these teams back in December Kreider scored both of New York's goals. His career record against the Pens is 11 goals, 14 assists, and 25 points in 36 games. It's always crucial to keep an eye on Chris Kreider when the Rangers come to town.