For the second time in five days, the Rangers will faceoff against the Pittsburgh Penguins with both teams eyeing home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs (7:00 P.M. EST, MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsPenguins
5thNHL Standing Rank4th

Previous Game

               The Blueshirts are coming off a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres. The Rangers got two goals from Frank Vatrano in 19 seconds to give themselves an early 2-0 lead. After Buffalo fought back to give themselves a 3-2 lead, Alexis Lafreniere extended his point streak to six games after tallying the tying goal. In the third period, Artemi Panarin gave the Rangers the lead before Jeff Skinner equalized with under seven minutes left. In overtime, Lafreniere found K’Andre Miller walking all alone down Broadway for the game-winning goal.

               Ryan Strome left the game after the first period and did not return with a lower-body injury. Head coach Gerard Gallant said after the game “I don’t see anything serious (on Strome’s injury).”


               The Blueshirts will need a big performance on Tuesday as they travel to Pittsburgh for a key game in the Metropolitan Division. In the first meeting in Pittsburgh, the Penguins were victorious in a 1-0 shutout by Tristan Jarry. The Rangers’ offense didn’t create many high danger scoring chances and which ultimately left them frustrated.

               When the two teams played just five days ago, the Rangers came out hungry and played arguably their most complete game of the season. Gallant’s team came flying out of the gate and scored three goals in just over two minutes to open the game. The Rangers played good defensive hockey and allowed just one goal on 21 shots. The Blueshirts will be hoping for a repeat of this performance in enemy territory.

               Strome didn’t take part in the team’s morning skate and is out according to Gallant. Strome was labeled as being day-to-day. Strome being on the trip is a good sign that it’s not serious and he could be back as early as Wednesday. With Strome out, this will create an opportunity for Gallant to experiment with Andrew Copp as Panarin’s center and on the first power-play unit. Copp has five points in three games since joining the Rangers. The Blueshirts will likely only be able to resign one of Strome or Copp and this will give the organization a chance to help make the decision.  

               With Strome out of the lineup, expect Ryan Reaves to be inserted back into the lineup. Reaves was a healthy scratch for the third time this season against Buffalo.  

               Igor Shesterkin will start in goal after being given the night off against Buffalo. Shesterkin has made 45 saves on 47 shots against the Penguins this season.


               Following what they considered to be a major disappointment, the Penguins played the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday and they absolutely embarrassed them by a score of 11-2. No, that is not a typo. The Penguins scored eleven goals on 35 shots which attending fans won’t ever forget.

               Evgeni Malkin recorded a hat trick as he tallied his goal total to 16 on the season. Malkin wasn’t available just two days prior against the Rangers as he was dealing with a non-covid related illness. Malkin is expected to be back in his usual spot on the second line.

               Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan will go right back to Jarry despite the 26-year-old getting pulled against the Rangers just days ago. Jarry was pulled in the second period but had to reenter the game just minutes later as backup Casey DeSmith left with an injury. DeSmith checked out fine and didn’t miss any time.

               Jason Zucker will likely remain out of the lineup for the Penguins. Zucker underwent core muscle injury repair in late January and is still week-to-week. Zucker skated in practice for the first time on Saturday since undergoing the procedure. While he isn’t expected to return against the Rangers on Tuesday night, he will be someone the Rangers will have to monitor as he will be a factor for them in the playoffs.

What to Watch

               Let’s keep an eye on Andrew Copp. With Strome out of the lineup, Copp will be asked to do more especially on the power play. If he proves he can be dominant with Panarin, the Rangers may have to think twice about letting Copp walk this offseason.

Projected Lineup










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