While the Rangers may more or less be a lock for the playoffs at this point, there are still critical games to be played this season that will have an impact on seeding. Tonight is one of those critical games in Pittsburgh, as it is a four-point swing game to potentially avoid the Caps in the first round. And no one wants them in the first round.
The Pens aren’t the disaster they were to start the season, filling out their top-heavy roster nicely with some good complimentary pieces. However they still aren’t a deep team, as their bottom-six are weak and Carl Hagelin probably doesn’t belong in a top-six role. The Rangers prey on teams that aren’t deep, so hopefully this is a solid matchup for them, even if the Pens are playing much better hockey of late.
Under Mike Sullivan, Pittsburgh has gotten more aggressive in all facets of the game. They’ve switched back to a 2-1-2 forecheck and look to pursue the puck, rather than play the contain game in the neutral zone. On defense, they play zone and try to defend in layers. All in all, very similar to how Torts coached the Rangers.
Olli Maata-Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin-Trevor Daley
Derrick Pouliot-Ian Cole
PK: Crosby, Hagelin, Cullen, Porter, Kuhnhackl, Dumoulin, Lovejoy, Letang, Daley, Pouliot
Marc-Andre Fleury gets the start.
PK: Stepan, Moore, Lindberg, Fast, Glass, McDonagh, Staal, Klein, Girardi
Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.
Crazy Prediction: Crosby and Malkin are held pointless.