Penguins vs. Rangers Game 5 Preview: Lines, how to watch

Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (3-1) @ New York Rangers (1-3)

When: 7:00 pm Eastern

How to Watch: ESPN anywhere in America (also available on AT&T Sportsnet in the local regional viewing area).

Opponent Track: It was a very tough few days in Pittsburgh for the Rangers. They came into the ‘Burgh feeling fresh and confident after their Game 2 win…A few days later, they leave a bit stunned after conceding 14 total goals in two losses and having their season get pushed to the brink tonight.

Pens Path Ahead: Game 6, if necessary, will be back in the ‘Burgh on Friday night starting at 7:00pm.

Hidden Stat: The Penguins are 9-7 in games where they can clinch a series under head coach Mike Sullivan (h/t Pens PR).

SBN Counterpart Blog: Blueshirt Banter

Game 4 Lines

FORWARDS

Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Frank Vatrano

Artemi Panarin – Ryan Strome – Andrew Copp

Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko

Johnny Brodzinski – Kevin Rooney – Ryan Reaves

DEFENSE

Justin Braun / Adam Fox

K’Andre Miller/Jacob Trouba

Patriarch Nemeth / Braden Schneider

Goals: Igor Shesterkin (Alexandar Georgiev)

Scratches: Dryden Hunt, Julien Gauthier, Lauri Pajuniemi, Greg McKegg, Tim Gettinger, Nils Lundqvist, Zac Jones, Jarred Tinordi, Libor Hajek, Matthew Robertson, Keith Kinkaid, Ryan Lindgren (game-time decision), Barclay Goodrow (week-to-week) )

IR: Sammy Blais

—There was no Ryan Lindgren in practice yesterday for the Rangers, nor any changes in lines. It looks like it will be do or die for them in the same settings they typically have been working with and a matter of changes in execution, not personnel.

—As if there was any doubt (I didn’t think there should have been) but the Rangers were asked about a Game 5 goalie starter right after Game 4 ended, and the answer was instantaneously in favor of Igor Shesterkin.

A tough practice

After being thoroughly disgusted with his team in Game 4, NYR coach Gerard Gallant put his team through what sounds like for playoffs a tough off-day practice — including a bag of skates.

And now for the Pens..

Projected Lines

Forwards

Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust

Danton Heinen – Evgeni Malkin – Kasperi Kapanen

Jason Zucker – Jeff Carter – Brock McGinn

Brian Boyle – Teddy Blueger – Evan Rodrigues

Defense

Mike Matheson / Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson / John Marino

Mark Friedman / Chad Ruhwedel

Goals: Louis Domingue (Alex D’Orio)

Scratches: Drew O’Connor, Tristan Jarry (foot), Nathan Beaulieu, Rickard Rakell (day-to-day), Casey DeSmith (out for the season), Brian Dumoulin (day-to-day)

—Rakell skated in a normal jersey yesterday in practice, but coach Mike Sullivan clarified he was still not cleared for contact and simply wore the regular jersey since the practice wasn’t to include much contact anyways. Rakell’s status remains unchanged officially, and he’s not expected to play tonight.

—Tristan Jarry was back on the ice prior to the team’s practice and taking a few controlled shots from goalie coach Andy Chiodo while practicing movement going up and down in his stance. From a visual view, it looks like Jarry is slowly increasing and adding elements in his game but at this point a return doesn’t seem imminent in the truest meaning of the word (as in, like, today). Tomorrow will mark four weeks from his injury.

“Stay hungry and stay in the moment”

The words from a coach currently in the process of succeeding just sound that much more poetic and inspiring, don’t they?

The guy in Gotham

With all these points in the last week, Sidney Crosby has jumped over Montreal legends Henri “The Pocket Rocket” Richard and Jean Beliveau to become the new leader for playoff points against the New York Rangers. From the Pens PR team:

Sidney Crosby is the most productive players against the Rangers in the postseason in NHL history after his three-point outing (1G-2A) in Game 4. His 22 playoff assists and 30 points are the most versus New York in NHL history:

PlayerGP PTS

Sydney Crosby 26 30
Jean Beliveau 18 28
Henry Richard 30 26
Bob Bourne 28 25
Evgeni Malkin 25 24

Crosby has multiple points in six-straight playoff games (3G-10A) against the Rangers, and points in seven-straight postseason games (4G-10A) against them dating back to the 2016 playoffs.

Per NHLPR, the Rangers are the third different franchise Crosby is either tied or outright leads in postseason points (also: OTT and PHI). Wayne Gretzky is the only other player to lead all players in playoff scoring against three separate franchises (ARI/WIN, CGY and VAN).

Crosby has had a bunch of leaderboard moments lately, crossing the 200 playoff point plateau and being the fourth fastest player in terms of games played to get there. With one more assist, Crosby’s next accomplishment will be passing Nicklas Lidstrom (129) in playoff assists and being fifth all-time in that category overall. Crosby is also one point shy of tying Jaromir Jagr (201) for fifth all-time in overall playoff scoring, which is just remarkable.

Once Crosby passes Jagr, he will only be behind four players best known for piling up the points in the high-octane 1980’s Oiler dynasty (Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Anderson) in total postseason points in NHL. Not bad for a kid from Cole Harbor!

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