Time will only tell if we’re set for another showdown between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins this spring.
For now, the two teams will each conclude their regular seasons against one another, facing off at Madison Square Garden (7:00, MSG).
The Rangers (47-28-6) have gone with lineups full of understudies over past couple of games, dropping their last one 3-1 to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon. Seven Rangers regulars sat out that game, and it’s expected the trend will continue today. Of note, Taylor Beck, brought over in a trade deadline deal with the Oilers, made his Rangers debut, while Mika Zibanejad scored the line Rangers goal in his return to Ottawa.
The Penguins (50-20-11) are locked into the second seed in the Metropolitan bracket, set for a quarterfinal match with the Columbus Blue Jackets. They’re also coming off a Saturday loss, dropping a 5-3 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Canada. Sidney Crosby scored his 44th goal of the season in the loss, which allowed Toronto to clinch their first playoff berth since 2013.
This will be the fifth, and obviously final, regular season meeting between the Rangers and Penguins this season, the Pens taking three of the first quartet. The last meeting was also at MSG, a 4-3 Pittsburgh win via shootout. The Rangers earned a point with a great comeback, down 3-1 before Rick Nash and Chris Kreider added third period goals. Crosby and Phil Kessel had the goals in the shootout session to provide the win.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490