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Game 27 Preview: Rangers at Penguins

Could really use a win today.

Could really use a win today.

The Rangers are in Pittsburgh this afternoon to take on the hottest team not from Chicago. The Pens have won seven in a row, and have scored at least three goals a game in that run, averaging a whopping 4.7 goals per game. That’s just absurd, but also impossible to maintain long term. Other stats impossible to maintain: The Penguin players shooting percentage (Kunitz – 30%, Neal – 18%, Dupuis – 17%, Martin – 17%, Sutter – 16%). That just means they are due for a slump, and don’t expect it to happen today.

The Rangers are slumping, having lost two in a row and three of their last four. They had two “gimme” games against Buffalo and Winnipeg and came out flat in both games. Now they hit the red hot Penguins, and this game has disaster written all over it. Expect the Pens to use their 2-1-2 forecheck to pin the Rangers in their own zone, create turnovers, and capitalize. The Rangers will need to make good outlet passes to beat the pressure.

In the defensive zone, the Penguins play a strong side overload or a low zone collapse, depending on puck location. They use these strategies to overwhelm the offensive players along the boards and create turnovers. If this doesn’t work (i.e.: The puck gets to the weak side point man), then the Pens shift to the low zone collapse and block shots.

On special teams, the Pens run an umbrella powerplay. Their powerplay is absolutely lethal, converting at 24.1% efficiency (4th in the league). But that penalty kill is the polar opposite, killing off penalties at a paltry 78.8% rate (24th in the league). The Pens also run a diamond penalty kill. With that said, most penalty kills alter based on the powerplay they are facing.

For more on Tortorella’s systems read here.

2012-2013 Records: Penguins (20-8-0), Rangers (13-11-2)

NYR Leading Scorer: Rick Nash (9-14-23)
PIT Leading Scorer: Sidney Crosby (12-35-47)

NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (22 GP, 2.27 GAA, .920 SV%)
PIT Goaltender: Marc-Andre Fleury (20 GP, 2.58 GAA, .905 SV%)

New York Rangers Tickets
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Rangers Lines: 

Marian Gaborik-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Rick Nash
Taylor Pyatt-Brian Boyle-JT Miller
Micheal Haley-Jeff Halpern-Darroll Powe

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto-Anton Stralman
Steve Eminger-Roman Hamrlik

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratches/Injuries:  Mike Sauer (concussion), Arron Asham (back), Marc Staal (eye), Stu Bickel (healthy), Matt Gilroy (healthy)

Broadcast Info: MSG, 1pm

Torts post-game interview from Thursday:

22 Responses to “Game 27 Preview: Rangers at Penguins”

  1. VinceR says:

    re-instituting crazy thoughts because I miss them:

    Crazy Thought: We aren’t down a goal after 2 minutes.

  2. Dave says:

    We started removing them because the crazy thought was always the same “PPG please” and the score was always 3-2. Plus, we took a lot of shit if we predicted them to lose.

  3. Chris F says:

    Miller, finally and officially, welcome to the NHL, the league where any contact with Crosby is illegal contact.

    • Dave says:

      Eh, he cross checked him at the numbers. That’s a penalty.

      Even if you disagree, that penalty on Despres was not an elbow. Canceling out calls there.

      • Chris F says:

        It was a love tap, and Crosby sold it.

        The Despres penalty was not an elbow, just a solid, hard shoulder… to the head.

        Either way, Rangers look like a high school team trying to compete in the Olympics. Out. Of. Their. League.

  4. Spozo says:

    You should all consider yourselves lucky. I’m watching this train wreck as well but I have to listen to the Penguins announcers.

    • VinceR says:

      I can only imagine how much you’re hearing how unfair Girardi is treating Crosby.

      • Spozo says:

        They went on for three minutes at the end of the first period about the “late hit” cally had on letang.

        • Dave says:

          But did they talk about the late hit from Crosby on Girardi?

          • Spozo says:

            Of course not. They talked about the coincidental minors that they both took in the first. But that all started because Girardi pushed Crosby. Not because Crosby was hacking at Hank and Girardi have him a glove to the face to back him him.

    • Dave says:

      Ouch. Those guys are the worst homers in the league.

  5. VinceR says:

    Hopefully they can keep up that 2nd period performance into the 3rd…if so they have a chance to take 2 out of this.

    • Dave says:

      I’d prefer they get 2 in regulation, but at this rate I’ll take any number of points.

  6. VinceR says:

    Ugh, a stinker. Need to see if that deflected up off Eminger, but Henke did not have a good angle. Made some great saves, but two he should have had.

    What’s worse is that, so far, even if he made all three saves, we still can’t win the game with a goose egg. Suppose I’ll slog through the rest and not turn the tv off.