Game Prep: Playoff Game 3- Game Changer
DeSmith Getting Shutdown For The Season Makes This A Whole New Series
2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1, Game 3: Penguins vs. Rangers in Pittsburgh, PA
PENS GAME PREP
[News & Notes On Game 3] -Backup turned #1 goalie Casey DeSmith has had core muscle surgery after the injury he sustained in Game 1 vs. the Rangers and is done for the year the Penguins announced yesterday. Now #3 goalie Louis Domingue just might have to win this series. Or at least hold the fort down to Games 6 or 7 when Tristan Jarry might be in the range of a potential return from a fractured foot. Jarry skated for the first time this morning before practice. It's estimated he'll need several days of practice before he gets into a game, so this is an encouraging development but still leaves a long road ahead to Jarry's full fitness to return to play.
-The Pens will have to utilize all their immense offensive talents to make up for this massive liability on the back end of their #3 goalie suddenly plunged into the heat of the NHL playoffs and only in his 3rd ever game as a Penguin. It's a lot to ask of Louis Domingue to essentially become a playoff legend and perform stellar enough to win this round by himself. That high of a bar can't automatically be expected even though Domingue looks serviceable thus far. So the Penguins' skaters have got to do the heavy lifting and lead the way instead. Louis has been decent thus far for the situation but he's playing way over his head and only human. (Before this season Domingue only had 1 playoff game ever played- for about 18 minutes for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2017/18. He did make all 7 saves he faced though.)
-Mike Matheson had a massive Game 2 breakdown. 2 goals were directly his responsibility. There's not much to say other than he's perhaps the biggest reason the Penguins lost that game. A puck went off of him net front for a Rangers goal while he was screening the vision of his own goalie. He followed that up by making an atrocious attempt at half-heartedly throwing a check mid-defensive back stride with a Ranger coming forward. He was promptly shaken off for a goal and left Louis Domingue hanging out to dry with no defender in front of him. Game 2 might have been Matheson's worst outing as a Pittsburgh Penguin. And that's saying something considering the bumpy start he had with the team.
-Line-up questions abound for tonight's Game 3 as the game day skate was optional and everyone is considered a "game time decision" according to coach Mike Sullivan. So whether defenseman Brian Dumoulin or forwards Rickard Rakell and Jason Zucker will return to play is unknown.
In better news Game 3 finally in the home barn, so get hyped! Playoff hockey returns to the Burgh in its full glory for the first time since the pandemic of 2020. The big screen is back, the building will be packed, it's truly a "hockey night in Pittsburgh!"-
FACEOFF 411 [Essential Game Info] Pens Playoff Game #3- Match-Up: Penguins vs Rangers Date: Saturday, May 7, 2022 Time: 7 PM (ET) Place: Pittsburgh, PA Venue: PPG Paints Arena TV Broadcasts: Local TV- ATTSN (PIT), MSG (NYR) | 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 Social Media Hashtags#⃣: #Pens #NYR #LetsGoPens #StanleyCup TEAM MATCH-UP [Team Stat Comparisons] Series: 1-1 Tie Team Streaks: PIT- 1 loss, NYR- 1 win Power Play % (Rank): PIT- 16.7% (8th), NYR- 40% (2nd) Penalty Kill % (Rank): PIT- 60% (15th), NYR- 83.3% (9th)
Faceoff % (Rank): PIT- 53.1% (2nd), NYR- 46.9% (15th)
Goals For/Game (Rank): PIT- 3 (8th), NYR- 4 (5th) (*Rankings only among playoff teams)
PLAYER MATCH-UP [Stat Leaders By Team Comparisons] Penguins Leaders: Goals: Jake Guentzel, 2. Assists: Sidney Crosby/Bryan Rust, 2. Points: Bryan Rust, 3. TOI: Kris Letang, 46:41. Hits: Mike Matheson/Kasperi Kapanen, 4. Blocks: Brian Boyle/Kris Letang/Mike Matheson, 3. Takeaways: Jake Guentzel, 4.
Goals: Chris Kreider/Andrew Copp/Adam Fox, 1. Assists: Mika Zibanejad, 2. Points: Chris Kreider/Mika Zibanejad, 2. TOI: Adam Fox/K'Andre Miller, 44:28. Hits: Ryan Reaves, 8. Blocks: Adam Fox, 6. Takeaways: 5-way tie, 3.
GOALIE MATCH-UP [Projected Starting Goalie Comparisons] #70- Louis Domingue, Penguins- Series Record: 1-1, 4.05 GAA, .912 SV% Career Record vs. Rangers: 3-1-0, 2.73 GAA, .906SV% Last 5 Games Record: 1-4-0 ~VS~ #31- Igor Shesterkin, Rangers- Series Record: 1-1-0, 2.17 GAA, .952 SV% Career Record vs. Penguins: 5-3-1, 2.11 GAA, .924 SV% Last 5 Games Record: 3-2-0
PENS BULLET POINTS [What's Needed To Win]
Actually Insulate Louis Domingue- Again same top bullet point as Game 2, except really do it this time. As we saw in last the Pens have got to stay in better defensive formation around Louis to give him the best chance at succeeding against one of the top teams in the league all year. They didn't do that in their last outing and it showed. Most critically they were unable to clear the slot. 3 goals went in on screens or redirections that Domingue didn't have a chance on. NY was able to make the pocket collapse with little resistance. In cases were the Pens defenders did put up a fight they somehow managed to do it right in the crease causing Louis to not be able to play his position. But when he saw shots coming in cleanly he put on a solid performance. Solid enough to win with a decent team ahead of him.
Seize The Moment Now- Point blank: the Penguins are going to lose this series if they do not get moving NOW. And that would be horrific because despite everything fate has thrown at them this playoffs- they can win this. The majority of the first 2 games showed us that they can keep pace with the Rangers and even answer back, tie, and rally for a clutch win against them. All without their starting goalie, and their #2 defenseman and 2 top 6 forwards for the majority of that time! That is a good team. Sidney Crosby, Rust, Guentzel, Letang, and Malkin are playing good playoff hockey. The Penguins can't waste that. But if they continue to lag from set-backs, to make unforced errors, and to allow NY to get rolling, momentum will swing too widely too fast in the Rangers favor and this thing will be over. The Pens have to play like every second of the series from this point out is elimination time. There is no Game 3- it's all Game 7, all the time now.
Equity- The Pens need more contributions from players beyond the aforementioned Crosby, Rust, Guentzel, Malkin and Letang. New York's roster has points spread all around. As of now they're looking like the more evenly balanced team. The Penguins' depth has got to show up. Jeff Carter, Danton Heinen, and Brock McGinn were brought in specifically to play in the playoffs for the most part. And all based on their past success in them. They have to be factors. Kapanen is a Top 20 player in playoffs expected goals, he needs to convert those into real goals. I want more from Teddy Blueger and Evan Rodrigues who have been difference makers in season but are blanking right now.
Stay Healthy- Self explanatory really. Not getting hurt anymore than they already are needs to be the secondary general goal just behind winning games in their situation. The Penguins simply cannot afford to lose anyone else.
[Extra Misc. Info]
-Coach Mike Sullivan is 1 win from tying Dan Bylsma in all-time Penguins playoff wins for a head coach at 43.
-Crosby's next goal will tie him with Alex Ovechkin for the most playoff goals of any active player at 71. (As I always say next in these goal comparisons now go look up the most points, individual awards, team wins, and Cup wins.)
-Sid's also one point from tying Henri Richard for 2nd in all-time playoff points vs. the Rangers at 26. Considering he's got 4 points in 2 games already you can probably expect this milestone tonight.
[Info For Fans Attending]
-Do you have tickets to the game? Try out the newest menu item at PPG, the Louis Domingue Spicy Pork and Broccoli special at the Nakama concession stand. (You've gotta do this, right!?)
-Pick up your free rally towel on entry too.
-Headed out to the big screen viewing party? This year's big screen is back on the former Igloo site across from Center Ave. this year. Keep an eye on the Penguins Twitter first to make sure the screen will be in use- as there's as much as a 60% chance of rain today in the afternoon. If they do hold the big screen, prepare for the possibility of a few showers, it'll be cloudy and cold too. Hourly temps are forecasted to be about 54F at puck drop and it will dip into the 40s by the time the game wraps up. So come prepared clothing wise.