The Rangers host the Pittsburgh Penguins for their first game in the new year, where they will try and extend their current winning streak to three (7:00 P.M. ET, NBCSN).
The Rangers are coming off a New Year’s Eve win in St. Louis where they defeated the Blues 2-1. While the Rangers got the win, many key personnel acknowledged they could play better.
“The feeling’s not great right now,” said Chris Kreider, who registered an assist on the tying goal. “We didn’t deserve to win that game. I mean, great that we did, and you need to find ways to win those games, and that was a greasy road win. But definitely not good enough.”
There was not a lot of physicality to us, there wasn’t the urgency to close on people,” said head coach David Quinn. “They had an awful lot of space – the complete opposite of what we did for 60 minutes against Nashville. At the end of the day, you’ve got to find a way to get two points and there are a whole different bunch of ways to do it, and we got it because we got a great goalie,”
Henrik Lundqvist had another dominant performance, making 37 saves.
“We didn’t play our best,” said Lundqvist, after Monday’s game. “Butwe worked so hard and we came up with the big plays at the right time and thatwins you so many games in this league…”
Tonight, the Blueshirts host the surging Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins struggled for the early portion of the season but they have since found their game. Pittsburgh are on a six-game winning streak and they are sitting in third place in the Metropolitan Division.
In addition, a lot of the Penguins key players are starting to get hot. Matt Murray is 6-0 since returning from injury with a 1.38 goals against average and a .959 save percentage. He will oppose Henrik Lundqvist in tonight’s matchup.
Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel each have ten points in their last fourgames.
The Rangers penalty kill went 4-4 in St. Louis and they will have to do their best to stay out of the box tonight. The Penguins have scored on seven of their last eight chances. The powerplay is converting on 26.6 percent, making it a top-five powerplay in the NHL.
“We certainly understand the power play we’re going to face tonight, so our best penalty kill tonight will be not taking penalties,” Quinn said.
Quinn didn’t like how his team played Monday night and he has made two changes to his lineup as Filip Chytil and Freddy Claesson will replace Jimmy Vesey and Tony DeAngelo. According to Quinn, the plan was for Chytil to sit more than one game, but he was unhappy with a lot of players and thus the plan has changed.
Marc Staal will skate in his 800th regular season game tonight, all with the Rangers. Nieves, who has two goals in his past three games, will get another game tonight on the third line.
Claesson – Shattenkirk