What looked like a promising Sunday night, quickly turned into a nightmare for the Rangers. The Blueshirts opened up the scoring just over a minute into the game, but a one-minute span in the final few minutes of the first period would ultimately be their downfall. Now the Rangers seek redemption in Pittsburgh (6:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

RangersEast Division Ranks /8Penguins
6th  East Ranking4th

               Mika Zibanejad opened up the scoring on Sunday night just over a minute into the game. What looked very encouraging quickly became sour and fast. With just a few minutes remaining in the first period, the Penguins exploded for three goals in 61 seconds and all but won the game right there. The Blueshirts were very deflated the rest of the game and created just a few scoring chances.

               “We just can’t be giving up these easy chances on these colossal mistakes that turn in easy goals for our opponent,” said head coach David Quinn.

               Alex Georgiev’s night didn’t go as planned. The 25-year-old allowed three goals on six shots and was pulled from the game. Georgiev was playing for the second straight night and after allowing a bad first goal where Georgiev was off his angle – the wheels fell off the wagon.

               “(We) went back and forth trying to decide who was going to play,” Quinn said. “I wanted to give Georgie a chance to get back-to-back and get into a rhythm.”

               The goaltending question will only get more complicated entering tonight. If Igor Shesterkin is available – he’ll likely get the nod. If Shesterkin is not available, Quinn will have to decide whether to answer with Georgiev or go to third-string Keith Kinkaid. Kinkaid played very well in over 40 minutes of relief on Sunday and kept some quality scoring chances out of the net.

               That was the first set of back-to-back games the Rangers played all season and they appeared fatigued. The offense offered very little and made it a very easy night for the Penguins defenseman and backup goalie Casey DeSmith. The Blueshirts offense will need a much better performance from all four lines. Besides not generating scoring chances, they sustained little offensive zone pressure and only drew one penalty.

               Now the game is about redemption and bouncing back. The Rangers were not going to win every game for the remainder of the season. They were just on a three-game winning streak before it was snapped. What they can’t afford to do is go on losing streaks – even a two-game losing streak. Another defeat in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night would mean that the three-game winning streak was really just a single win. But a victory tonight keeps that streak as meaningful as it was and sets the Rangers up to continue a playoff push. As the season nears the halfway point, the Rangers must avoid losing consecutive games if they are to continue making a push for the playoffs.

               Colin Blackwell will likely draw back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch. Blackwell has been a nice surprise for the Rangers this season and has contributed with eight points.

“Blackwell’s obviously had a good year so far, but I just thought the last three games he was struggling,” said Quinn.

Artemi Panarin remains out on a leave of absence. Panarin had 18 points in 14 games prior to the leave. The situation remains day-to-day as Panarin is set to miss his eighth-straight game.

Projected Lineup