After suffering a tough shootout defeat at the hands of the Penguins on Friday night, the Rangers will hope to leave Pittsburgh on a high note (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG2).
|Rangers||East Division Ranks /8||Penguins|
If the Rangers get three points in two games against Pittsburgh, they’ll have nothing to be disappointed about. But it won’t come easy as the Penguins are now riding a three-game winning streak. The Blueshirts played an overall solid game against Pittsburgh but ultimately came up just short. They had a two-goal lead in the second period but the Penguins did not quit and fought back to win it in a shootout. The Ranger’s goals came from Filip Chytil, Adam Fox, and Kaapo Kakko.
“It’s part of our learning curve,” said head coach David Quinn. “We have to understand situational hockey. You’re up 3-1 and a lot of good things are happening. We just – we didn’t really understand the moment. With 6 min to go, we’re still doing things like without 3-1 and it came back to bite us.”
Rookie defenseman K’Andre Miller recorded his first career point with a primary assist on Kakko’s second of the season.
“You dream about playing the NHL your whole life and once the opportunity comes, there’s nerves that come with it,” Miller said. “Now with four games under my belt, I’m just trying to be as consistent as I can be and help the team in whatever way I can.”
“It’s certainly been a smooth transition for him so far,” Quinn said of Miller. “I just love the way he played today. His gaps were good, he was physical, confident with the puck… He wasn’t afraid, regardless of who was out there with him – whether it was Malkin or Crosby or whoever”
With some better luck, the Rangers could’ve had themselves a record of 3-1-0. They’ve played well in three of the four games but only have one win to show for it.
The Blueshirts will make a couple of changes as they hope to leave Pittsburgh with a win. First, Jack Johnson will be a healthy scratch and Brendan Smith will take his place. Brendan Lemieux will also be a healthy scratch for Colin Blackwell who will make his Rangers debut.
“I love his pace, I love his competitiveness – I just love the way he plays the game,” Quinn said of Blackwell. “He just puts his head down and works.”
Igor Shesterkin and Tristan Jarry; both starting goalies from Friday night are expected to get the start for their respective teams.
The Rangers will be looking to slow down Bryan Rust and Kasperi Kapanen. Rust fired a career-high eleven shots. Rust’s eleven shots were the most by any player this season. Kapanen also enters Sunday night’s game with a four-game point streak against the Rangers.
Kevin Rooney returned to the lineup last game against Pittsburgh after suffering an injury on opening night and will remain in the lineup for Julien Gauthier.