Game Prep: Playoff Game 5- In It To Win It

In It To Win It- The Penguins First Playoff Series Win In 4 Years Is Within Grasp In Game 5

2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1, Game 5: Penguins at Rangers in New York, NY

A Stanley Cup Playoffs series win. That's the magical place the Penguins have not been to four straight seasons after an unprecedented successful 2 Cup and 3 playoff run span that started in the fall of 2015 and stretched all the way into the second round of the playoffs in late spring 2018 before that team finally just ran out of gas.

In between then and now has been a time of monumental changes. Gone are huge, beloved names like Patric Hornqvist, Phil Kessel, Justin Schultz, Conor Sheary, Matt Murray, team architects Jim Rutherford, Bill Guerin, and David Morehouse, even owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle. There's been a major injury for almost every single major player of the championship band in the years since who have remained.

But that championship core are still pretty much here- Sid, Tanger, Geno, the now grown-up "kids" in Guentzel & Rust, Dumoulin, with Sully still leading the charge. They now have new refreshed players by their side, a new young hot shot of a netminder waiting for his chance at glory, and their first Stanley Cup Playoffs series win in 4 long seasons within their reach. The once greatest teams of its era is now on the precipice of a chance to return to future greatness.

And that's a very dangerous thing for the New York Rangers.

Doubly so considering they just dropped a second straight game where they let in 7 goals and had to yank their Vezina nominee goaltender Igor Shesterkin.

The Ranger's are trending so poorly in almost every category that MoneyPuck has the Penguins odds at advancing to the second round of the playoffs at the highest of any team except for the already advanced Colorado Avalanche. Likewise New York's odds of advancing past a round 1 series are lowest of any team besides the swept and already eliminated Nashville Predators who lost to Colorado.

So how did we get here? Well the stats tell the tale (and that tale is pure Pens dominance)-

-The Rangers have given up the 3rd most goals against of any of the 16 teams in the playoffs. Behind the aforementioned hapless Predators and LA Kings.

-After 4 games there are only 2 plus players on the Rangers: Jacob Trouba at +2, K'Andre Miller at +1. The Penguins have 12 players that are a plus. 7 who are +2 or more. 4 players who are +3 or over: Kapanen, Marino, Ruhwedel, and Friedman.

-The Pens are lapping New York at this point: Points leader Sidney Crosby grabbed 3 points in Game 4 alone giving him 9 total for the series, almost double New York’s point leader Artemi Panarin’s 5 points. Likewise Pens goals leader Jake Guentzel is out scoring the Ranger’s goal leader Andrew Copp by nearly double too, at 5 goals to 3.

-If I told you before Game 2 that by Game 5 that:

"Goalie A" would have the results of 3-1-0, 3.40 GAA, .906 SV% and "Goalie B" the results of 1-2-0, 4.26 GAA, .905 SV%, 2 consecutive pulls, 2 consecutive games w/ 7 goals against. Then if I told you "A" was Pens #3 goalie Louis Domingue and "B" was Vezina finalist Igor Shesterkin you would have fallen down laughing. Well that's where we're at.

For more stats check out below!


[Essential Game Info]

Pens Playoff Game #5-

Match-Up: Penguins @ Rangers

Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Time: 7 PM (ET)

Place: New York, NY

Venue: Madison Square Garden

TV Broadcasts: Nationally- ESPN | Local Simulcasts- ATTSN (PIT), MSG (NYR) | 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 Stat Comparisons]

Head To Head-

Series: 3-1 PIT

Team Streaks: PIT- 2 wins, NYR- 2 losses

Power Play % (Rank): PIT- 33.3% (3rd), NYR- 22.2% (7th)

Penalty Kill % (Rank): PIT- 77.8% (10th), NYR- 66.7% (14th)

Faceoff % (Rank): PIT- 55.7% (2nd), NYR- 44.3% (15th)

Goals For/Game (Rank): PIT- 5 (2nd), NYR- 3.50 (6th)


[Stat Leaders By Team Comparisons]

Penguins Leaders-

Goals: Jake Guentzel, 5.

Assists: Sidney Crosby, 7.

Points: Sidney Crosby, 9.

Shots: Jake Guentzel, 24.

Plus/Minus: John Marino/Kasperi Kapanen, +4.

TOI/G: Kris Letang, 31:17.

FO%: Teddy Blueger, 71.4.

Hits: Kasperi Kapanen/Mike Matheson/Bryan Rust/Jason Zucker, 12.

Blocks: Kris Letang, 13.

Takeaways: Sidney Crosby, 8.

Rangers Leaders-

Goals: Andrew Copp, 3.

Assists: Mika Zibanejad, 4.

Points: Artemi Panarin, 5.

Shots: Ryan Strome, 20.

Plus/Minus: Jacob Trouba, +2.

TOI/G: Adam Fox, 29:10.

FO%: Kevin Rooney, 50%.

Hits: Ryan Reaves, 20.

Blocks: Adam Fox, 7.

Takeaways: Adam Fox/K’Andre Miller, 7.


[Projected Starting Goalie Comparisons]

#70- Louis Domingue, Penguins-

Series Record: 3-1-0, 3.40 GAA, .906 SV%

Career Playoff Record: 3-1-0, 3.11 GAA, .911 SV%

Career Record vs. Rangers: 3-1-0, 2.73 GAA, .906SV%

Last 5 Games Record: 3-2-0


#31- Igor Shesterkin, Rangers-

Series Record: 1-2-0, 4.26 GAA, .905 SV%

Career Playoff Record: 1-3-0, 4.02 GAA, .905 SV%

Career Record vs. Penguins: 5-3-1, 2.11 GAA, .924 SV%

Last 5 Games Record: 1-4-0


[What's Needed To Win]

-B.E. Aggressive!- The Penguins have to play like they're on the brink of elimination themselves to close out New York back at home. Urgency is the key. Be aggressive and proactive which has been the secret to their success so far.

-Smash The Slot- Shesterkin has been getting killed by the Penguins in the slot. They need to continue to light that area up like a Mt. Lebanon mansion's decorations at Christmastime.

-Clear The Air- There's been a few times this series where the Pens have gotten in front of Louis Domingue for goals. Either deflections off of skaters in front or Penguins screening their own goalie. For them to close this out they need to help Louis as much as possible and can do so by keeping his sightlines clean.


[Extra Misc. Info]

-Milestone Achieved: Mike Sullivan took #1 place in all-time playoff wins for a Pens head coach with the team's victory on Monday.

-The Rangers announced immediately after Mondays loss that pulled starter Igor Shsterkin will indeed start Game 5 tonight. It may prove to be their series-losing decision as Shesterkin has been pulled twice in the last 2 games, has 11 goals against in the last 2 games, and hasn't looked at all himself since the Game 1 triple overtime thriller.

-Meanwhile New York's number 2 goalie Alexander Georgiev has played just as many periods as Shesterkin over the last 2 games: 3 each. Georgiev has only 1 goal against to Igor's 11.

-Personnel notes: Jason Zucker is playing tonight after missing the last 2 optional Pens practices. Brian Dumoulin is not as he has yet to return to the ice but is apparently progressing off-ice. Rickard Rakell took practice this morning but is still not cleared to return to play and the Pens don't seem inclined to rush him with a concussion. Tristan Jarry also took his first skate with the team this morning but still has a considerable ways to go to return to full-speed practice and appears to not yet be able to fully practice his transitions from on-ice to standing with his full weight after an assumed broken foot.