Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (3-3) @ New York Rangers (3-3)
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: TBS, AT&T Sportsnet in the local regional viewing area, MSG Network for the Blueshirts
Opponent Track: The Rangers have turned a 2-0 Penguins lead into a 5-3 Rangers advantage in two consecutive games to tie the series.
Think Path Ahead: Are the Penguins getting into painful offseason contract discussions, or are they gearing up to play the Carolina Hurricanes? Only the final score will tell.
HiddenStat: The Penguins are 6-0 all time in Game 7 on the road, as per one Steve Mears.
Three of them in Washington (1992, 2009, 2017), New Jersey 1999 (Jagr’s great series), Buffalo 2001 (Kasparaitis) and of course 2009 in Detroit.
—Steve Mears (@MearsyNHL) May 14, 2022
SBN Counterpart Blog: Blueshirt Banter
Rangers Game 6 Lines
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Frank Vatrano
Artemi Panarin – Ryan Strome – Andrew Copp
Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko
Tyler Motte – Kevin Rooney – Ryan Reaves
Ryan Lindgren / Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller/Jacob Trouba
Justin Braun / Braden Schneider
Goalies: Igor Shesterkin (Alexandar Georgiev)
Scratches: Patrik Nemeth, Johnny Brodzinski, Dryden Hunt, Julien Gauthier, Lauri Pajuniemi, Greg McKegg, Tim Gettinger, Nils Lundqvist, Zac Jones, Jarred Tinordi, Libor Hajek, Matthew Robertson, Keith Kinkaid, Barclay Goodrow (week-to-week)
IR: Sammy Blais
—The Rangers have made their previous two comebacks without Artemi Panarin exploding offensively. Mike Zibanejad, on the other hand, found his groove in Game 6.
—Defenseman Patrik Nemeth, who made some costly errors for the Rangers early in the series but was briefly their seventh defenseman, was scratched for Game 6 as Tyler Motte returned to the lineup for the first time in over a month.
—The Rangers ranked fourth in the NHL during the 2021-22 regular season on their power play (25.2%) and seventh on their penalty kill (82.3%). They looked every bit that top-10 special team against the Penguins in Game 6 The Penguins need answers for both their penalty kill and their power play to retain a lead in Game 7.
And now for the Pens…
Penguins Projected*** Lines
Jake Guentzel – Evgeni Malkin – Bryan Rust
Danton Heinen-Jeff Carter-Kasperi Kapanen
Jason Zucker – Teddy Blueger – Brock McGinn
Drew O’Connor – Evan Rodrigues – Radim Zohorna
Mike Matheson/Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / John Marino
Mark Friedman/Chad Ruhwedel
Goalies: Louis Domingue (Alex D’Orio)
Scratches: Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry (football), Nathan Beaulieu, Rickard Rakell (day-to-day), Casey DeSmith (out for the season), Brian Dumoulin (day-to-day), Radim Zohorna
—Brian Boyle is being evaluated for a lower-body injury. If he is out and no other forwards return, we can expect Radim Zohorna to slot in for him on the fourth line, while Evan Rodrigues might slide over to center.
—Brian Dumoulin is not yet skating and is unlikely to play Game 7.
***Now for the triple asterisk.
We’ll assume, if no players return from injury, the Penguins will stick with their Game 6 lineup (potentially with Boyle out for Zohorna.)
But there have been rumblings at Saturday’s morning practice…
…during which Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry and Rickard Rakell all skated in regular (non-contact) jerseys.
“We’ll take each day as it comes. I’m not going to speculate at this point. They’re obviously on the ice. That’s encouraging. They’re making progress.” —head coach Mike Sullivan on the status of Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry and Rickard Rakell
Tristan Jarry is practicing today as well. He’s getting the bulk of the work while Alex D’Orio and Louis Domingue appear to be spectators primarily.
— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) May 14, 2022
Sidney Crosby seems to be in good spirits. Had the puck near the right post, firing down low. Smiling the whole time.
— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) May 14, 2022
“I think any time (Crosby’s) on the ice, I think it’s good for our team. It’s good for our players. It’s good for our morality. That’s certainly a boost for our guys.” —Sullivan
If these players return, Evgeni Malkin could shift back to the second line, potentially alongside Bryan Rust if Rickard Rakell slots in on Sidney Crosby’s wing. Tristan Jarry could be making his first start since April 14.
We won’t know the true likelihood of any of those options until closer to game time.
So now, all there is to ask is one final question:
Are you ready?