NHL Monday Night Hockey: Penguins/Rangers Preview

by Big Al Staff

The NBC Sports Network on Monday features a rematch of East Division rivals from their Saturday thriller.

Pittsburgh won their fifth game in their last seven contests with their 4-3 victory over the Rangers in overtime. Trailing 3-2 in the third period, Jake Guentzel tied the game at the 9:18 mark of the third period. Sidney Crosby then won the game at the 2:27 mark in overtime to pick up the two points.

The Penguins began their season with two losses at Philadelphia. Since that slow start, Pittsburgh has gone 5-1-1, with their 11 points putting them in fourth place in the East. They tie with Toronto with five victories decided by just one goal.

Crosby’s team has been living on the edge this season. They are 3-3-1 when trailing after two periods. Pittsburgh has won four times in overtime already this year, including twice against the Rangers. The Penguins defeated New York at home by a 4-3 score on January 22nd via the shootout.

Pittsburgh is thin on their blue line right now, with defenseman Kris Letang suffering a lower-body injury in the first period of the game on Saturday. He is out for tonight. The Penguins already placed defensemen Marcus Pettersson, Brian Dumoulin, Juuso Riikola, and Mike Matheson on their Injured Reserve last month.

New York is just 1-3-2 in their last six games after the overtime loss on Saturday. All six of these games were decided by one goal. The Rangers are struggling to protect leads. They blew three leads against the Penguins on Saturday. They are also just 2-1-2 in games when entering the third period with a lead.

New York had playoff aspirations to begin the season after drafting the number one player in the 2020 draft, Alex Lafrenierre. Yet the Rangers find themselves in last place in the eight-team East Division with only six points. Head coach David Quinn has been rotating his two goaltenders this season with Alexander Georgiev between the pipes in the loss on Saturday. Igor Shesterkin should get the start tonight. He last played on Thursday in a 3-2 win in Buffalo in overtime where he allowed only two goals. Shesterkin has a 2.73 goals-against-average with a .894 save percentage in five games and four starts.

Penguins’ head coach Mike Sullivan will keep Casey DeSmith in goal tonight after he allowed four goals in holding on to the victory on Saturday against the Rangers. DeSmith is 3-0-0 this season in four games and three starts. He has a 3.05 goals-against-average with a .875 save percentage.

New York has won only one of their four games at Madison Square Garden this season. They shutout the Islanders on January 16th, 5-0. Pittsburgh’s lone victory this season away from home in five games this season was their triumph in MSG on Saturday.

BetAnySports lists the Penguins as a -108 money line road favorite with the total set at 6.5. The NBC Sports Network broadcast starts at 7 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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