Game Prep: Playoff Game 2- Looking To Take A Lead
The Penguins Return To Action And Look To Lead The Series 2-0
2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1, Game 2: Penguins at Rangers in New York, NY
The Penguins are back in the hunt after playing six periods of hockey in one single in Game 1 vs. the Rangers and they're looking to take a 2-0 lead in this series. Sweeping the opening games in New York would be an event that the Blueshirts would have a very difficult time recovering from.
Louis Domingue, the Pens’ #3 goalie, played a huge part in Tuesday's win after coming into the game late as Casey DeSmith went down with a groin injury in overtime. Domingue will now have to answer an even bigger task: the role of Penguins' starting playoff goaltender. Casey DeSmith will remain out for at least Game 2. Pens starter Tristan Jarry is still sidelined from a broken foot and not skating according to the team either. This situation is a tough ask for Domingue, a player who only appeared in 2 regular season games for the Pens this year. The Domingue factor will be the most crucial question for the Penguins tonight and could be the deciding point in this game.
Meanwhile, minor league goalie Alex D'Orio has been recalled from the minors to back up Domingue. D'Orio is the only other currently healthy goalie signed to the team. He is a true NHL rookie, never playing a single game in any capacity- starter or relief. The most concerning issue with D’Orio is that he isn’t even a full-time AHL starter. He's bounced around between the AHL and ECHL this season. His records are 7-10-4 with a 2.91 goals against average in the AHL and 5-4-0 with 4.02 GAA in the ECHL. He would be an extremely sub-optimal option for an NHL goaltender let alone one in the playoffs.
What does this mean for Game 2? Well, Louis Domingue, a complete non-factor in the Penguins' regular season, is now the most important player on the team. It’s an unexpected turn of events even on the wild ride that is the NHL playoffs.
The good news is that the Penguins looked up to the challenge of handling the Rangers in Game 1. They undoubtedly want to insulate Domingue as best they can and keep the game in the offensive zone where they firmly controlled play in the series opener. New York was clearly frustrated by the Pens' offense and resorted to cheap shots as desperate measures to try to slow them down. (As we know from playoffs past this does not work overall on a well-rested Pens team.) In their desperate attempts to subvert the Penguins with physicality NY took out Rickard Rakell with a high hit and he is now sidelined indefinitely with a concussion courtesy of Ranger Ryan Lindgren.
[*Update: Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 2:49 PM- The Pens have activated recently acquired defenseman Nathan Beaulieu late today. This is a notable potential line-up addition as Beaulieu is well known for not his pugilistic efforts (as seen in his HockeyFights listing here) and physicality. It seems like the Penguins are looking to nip the Rangers' "run them if we're losing" game plan in the bud.]
But in a timely development, Jason Zucker appears ready to return to play as soon as tonight, being declared a "game-time decision” by the Pens. He will patch the hole Rakell’s loss leaves. And even if Zucker cannot go, Kasperi Kapanen slid into Rakell's roster spot mid-game and surprisingly put forth the best effort we've seen all year from him. He even factored into Evgeni Malkin's game-winning triple overtime goal.
The weird and wild turns the Stanley Cup Playoffs bring us never do disappoint!
Now looking ahead at Game 2:
[Essential Game Info]
Pens Playoff Game #2
Match-Up: Penguins at Rangers
Date: Thursday, May 5, 2022
Time: 7 PM (ET)
Place: New York, NY
Venue: Madison Square Garden
TV Broadcasts: Local TV- ATTSN | US National TV- TNT | Canadian TV- CBC, SN, TVAS
Radio Broadcasts: Local- 105.9 The X & The Penguins Radio Network | National- SiriusXM
Streaming Broadcasts: Broadcast TV over select streaming services, next day on ESPN+
App Updates: Penguins App
[Team Stat Comparisons]
Series: 1-0 PIT
Team Streaks: PIT- 1 win, NYR- 1 loss
Power Play % (Rank): PIT- 25% (6th), NYR- 100% (1st)
Penalty Kill % (Rank): PIT- 0% (16th), NYR- 75% (9th)
Faceoff % (Rank): PIT- 52.9% (5th), NYR- 47.1% (12th)
Goals For (Rank): PIT- 4 (4th), NYR- 3 (9th)
(*Rankings among playoff teams only)
[Stat Leaders By Team Comparisons]
Goals: PIT- Jake Guentzel, 2. NYR- Krieder/Copp/Fox, 1.
Assists: PIT- Crosby/Rust, 2. NYR- Mika Zibanejad, 2.
Points: PIT- Bryan Rust, 3. NYR- Krieder/Zibanejad, 2.
TOI: PIT- Kris Letang, 46:41. NYR- Fox/Miller, 44:28.
Hits: PIT- Matheson/Kapanen, 4. NYR- Ryan Reaves, 8.
Blocks: PIT- Boyle/Letang/Matheson, 3. NYR- Adam Fox, 6.
Takeaways: PIT- Jake Guentzel, 4. NYR- 5-way tie, 3.
[Projected Starting Goalie Comparisons]
#70- Louis Domingue, Penguins-
Series Record: 1-0, 0 GAA, 1.000 SV%, 17 Saves
Career Record vs. Rangers: 3-1-0, 2.73 GAA, .906SV%
Last 5 Games Record: 2-3-0
#31- Igor Shesterkin, Rangers-
Series Record: 0-1, 2.26 GAA, .952 SV%, 79 Saves
Career Record vs. Penguins: 5-3-1, 2.11 GAA, .924 SV%
Last 5 Games Record: 2-3-0
PENS BULLET POINTS
[What's Needed To Win]
Insulate Louis Domingue- Protect him more defensively than the Pens have to with Casey DeSmith or Tristan Jarry. The Rangers will surely look to push him harder as the #3 goalie.
Dodge The Bullets- It's clearly NYR's intention to physically attack the Penguins in this series. It was evident on ice and many of their fans said as much post-game on social media. It's especially their plan when they are playing from behind. There were numerous run-ins last game and the Pens lost Rickard Rakell to a targeted cheap shot to the head. They have to try to dodge those Rangers' bullets and focus on their offensive attacks which New York could not handle.
Keep Shooting- It's really that simple. That's the key to unlocking Vezina-front running goalie Igor Shesterkin. And it's the reason that the Rangers could not handle the Pens: the number of shots they continuously pelted them with. Shesterkin was caught for 4 goals because he couldn't manage the volume. The Pens ended up putting 83 shots on goal and had 60 more shots that missed or were blocked for a total of 143 total shots and attempts. They ended up putting nearly 30 high-danger chances up at the net front. And the shots came from everywhere on the roster. Nine different Penguins put up 5 or more shots.